WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Some of the people behind the Honor Flight program are working to deliver something special to veterans and schools.
Jim Campbell is with the Central Wisconsin Honor Flight. He is one of several people delivering care packages to veterans and copies of the Honor Flight movie to schools and nursing homes. “All of the stuff in the care package is donated, and they send them to our service men and women overseas, and they approached a number of Honor Flights about a year ago and said, ‘Hey, would you like to participate and provide these to your Honor Flight veterans?’ It didn’t take long to say this is a no-brainer because the cost to the Honor Flight was nothing.”
Campbell says he says he is working with three organizations to get the Honor Flight movie out to more people, so they can appreciate what veterans have done. One group is California based Operation Gratitude, which provides free care packages for veterans. Locally, Campbell is working with the Elks Veterans Committee in the Wausau, Antigo, Merrill, and Tomahawk areas. He is also working with the American Legion Riders to distribute care packages in the Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Marshfield areas. “We had a number, hundreds and hundreds of these shipped to us, the Operation Gratitude care package, and about the same time, the movie became available. We not only presented a care package to every veteran in every nursing home in central Wisconsin through the Elks Veterans Committee, and then we also gave them an Honor Flight movie to show their residents. Boy, is that going over great.”
During the past three weeks, the local volunteers including Campbell have distributed several Honor Flight movies to schools and nursing homes. There are still several stops to make, as they try to place the movie in 226 schools in 49 districts in the 12 counties served by this Honor Flight unit. Campbell says many of these schools are familiar with Honor Flight and have helped raise money to send veterans to their national memorials.
Additionally, the care packages with the movie have gone to 2,255 veterans, which includes participants of four honor flights. Another 848 veterans at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King have received the gifts.
Operation Gratitude reached a milestone this month. That organization distributed its one millionth care package on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th.
Campbell encourages veterans that haven’t been on the Honor Flight to sign up for next spring. They are often able to accommodate vets with disabilities, so Campbell says that shouldn’t prevent a veteran from signing up. Honor Flight applications are available online at their website, or by calling (715) 573-8519. The phone number is a voice mail service that people can leave a name, address, and phone number at so Campbell can send them the forms.
(The interview with Jim Campbell can be heard on our website, here.)