Group sending veterans to Washington D.C.
For the past two years the Lakeway Standing Military Committee has worked with the city of Lakeway to assist with military-related activities such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.
Under the leadership of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rod Kelly, the committee has turned its attention toward helping World War II veterans travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial as part of the Honor Flight Program.
"A few months ago one of the newest SMC members, Kristine Shelstad, presented a briefing on the Honor Flight Austin charity," Kelly said.
Kelly said the committee liked the proposal and would like to give the WWII veterans of the Lake Travis area the opportunity to make the trip.
"We wanted the WWII veterans in our community to be able to make this trip together as friends with the same comaraderie they enjoyed while serving their country," he said.
The committee pledged to raise at least $40,000 to help fund up to 34 veterans travel to the memorial, Kelly said.
Kristine Shelstad, the assistant director of operations for Honor Flight Austin, said that by having a special flight for Lake Travis veterans, the group is able to bypass the standard wait time of the national program and fly out as a group.
"This group feels that WWII veterans need that opportunity to do that one last mission with honor," Shelstad said. "To go to D.C., to see their memorial, to be honored one more time for their service to this nation and to the world."
The two-day trip scheduled for Nov. 1 includes transportation, lodging, food and any medical or personal assistance the veterans require, she said.
The group is still in the process of raising funds and held a golf tournament Sept. 4 to help reach the financial goal set by the SMC.
"I have absolutely no doubt the Lake Travis community will help us reach our goal," Kelly said. "This is a very patriotic community with strong support for those that have served this great nation. I have seen the support for wounded warriors through the Christmas Hope charity grow stronger each year, and this effort will be no different."
Kelly and Shelstad both said time is a major factor of the flight. World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 900 per day throughout the nation, they said.
"The time to show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice is now," Kelly said.
Honor Flight Austin
Honor Flight Austin's mission is to transport veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., with a specific priority given to residents in the 14-county area served by the organization: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Gillespie, Gonzales, Hayes, Lee, Llano, Milam, Travis and Williamson. The Lake Travis–area Honor Flight can take 34 veterans on this flight to Washington, D.C.
Honor Flight schedule
- Sendoff at Lakeway Activity Center
- Arrive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
- 12:30 p.m.—Flight leaves for Washington, D.C.
- Flight lands at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
- Arrive at Hilton Alexandria Mark Center for dinner and overnight stay
- Visit World War II Memorial
- Tour Lincoln and Vietnam and Korean war memorials
- Watch the Arlington National Cemetery changing of the guard
- Visit the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
- Visit Navy and Air Force memorials**
- Arrive at Reagan National Airport
- 8 p.m.— arrive in Austin
Donate to Honor Flight
Anyone wishing to donate to Honor Flight Austin can mail a check to Rod Kelly.
Lakeway Standing Military Committee, 104 Black Wolf Run, Lakeway, TX, 78738., www.honorflightaustin.org