Honor Flight Nevada Volunteers: Helping The Heroes
Washington, D.C. has some of the largest and best war memorials in the US and Honor Flight Nevada takes vets from the Silver State to see them, at no cost to the traveler. In this third installment of our five-part series, we take a look at the devoted and tireless volunteers.
Washington, D.C. has some of the largest and best war memorials in the US and Honor Flight Nevada takes vets from the Silver State to see them, at no cost to the traveler.
Channel 2 News joined the group during a four day trip at the end of June. In this third installment of our five-part series, we take a look at the devoted and tireless volunteers.
It's all about the helping hands – literally. From a gentle arm around the shoulder to help getting out of a wheelchair, the volunteers and guardians of Honor Flight Nevada are all in.
“We have such a great team and everybody knows their part in it,” explains Dee Anthony who has been volunteering for five years and is now also Secretary for the board of directors.
And there are a lot of moving parts. The vets are taken care of during the entire Honor Flight experience: from pre-packed lunches and cold water on a hot day, to help getting in and out of the provided wheelchairs.
"And I enjoy every bit of it,” Adam Wygnanski smiles broadly at us. “And I tell these guys when they come down the stairs, I got you. I won't let any of these guys fall or hurt themselves,” Wygnanski is a retired police officer and is built like a Marine drill sergeant. “It's just an honor for me."
Adam got hooked on helping with Honor Flight years ago and says he is moved every time he hears stories from the vets: "...that say 'Well, I didn't do anything,’ and then you find out they were at D-Day or coming on the beach and they make it sound like they didn't do anything. They're the true heroes."
Dee got hooked when she accompanied her veteran father on an Honor Flight journey five years ago. "They come on these trips to see the memorials, but to me, that's not the most important thing. Seeing them discover their pride again in themselves,” Dee pauses to take a deep breath and blink the tears out of her eyes, “See, I get emotional.”
After witnessing the herculean effort for ourselves, we know Honor Flight Nevada just wouldn't be possible without the volunteers. They take time off work and spend their own money to travel with the seniors, helping them every step of the way - and they do it all with love and devotion.
That passion is evident in all the volunteers, but the veterans are also buoyed by the energy - and honor. "I just never felt any sense of pride that I've really felt these last few days," shares Marine Corps vet Bill Drummond.
The many are led by Honor Flight Nevada founder and president Jon Yuspa. Although he often stays quietly in the background, he's responsible for vital details, like making sure a medic is on every trip.
For the late June trip, it was 23-year-old National Guardsmen and REMSA paramedic Mason Burkhart.
"It's such an honor to be able to be here, to be able to put a couple of band aids on and help people with their medications and whatever the little things that I did," says Mason, who admits he has a soft spot in his heart for senior citizens.
Dee has a part time job apart from the full time commitment to Honor Flight Nevada, but she wouldn't have it any other way: "And each time we do it we learn more and make it better and better."
Adam agrees, "I can't wait to do more Honor Flights - it's fantastic."
To learn more about Honor Flight Nevada, click below: