Last weeks guest speaker was Jim Nelson. He is now retired and volunteering as an Honor Flight Guardian.




Jim, a Marine Corps veteran, started working with the Honor Flight program about 4 years ago. This is the program that flies veterans of WWII and the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts to Washington, D.C. for a day to visit the memorials which honor them. The project was started by an Air Force veteran after the WWII memorial was completed. In May 2005 the first flight took off from Springfield, Ohio. They use commercial airlines and through a large donation from Southwest Airlines, they are now the official carrier. The Honor Flight now comprises a nationwide effort of regional networks where resources are pooled. In 2012, 98,000 veterans went to Washington, D.C. to make their dream a reality. The selection process seeks WWII vets first as they are aging, then the terminally ill from later conflicts. Minnesota has 3 regions - Duluth, Minneapolis and Rochester. This year's Duluth trip is June 14th. It is the 7th year Duluth has been involved. Each veteran has a "Guardian", such as Jim, who pays for the veteran's flight and his own, and accompanies the vet the entire day. Their day starts at 4:30 am at the Duluth airport, includes Mail Call in flight, is met by a big reception at Reagan airport in Washington, has a police escort to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol and the WWII, Korean and Viet Nam memorials, flies home and is greeted by hundreds of Duluthians at 10:30 pm. Jim showed us a short video of a typical Duluth Honor Flight. For more information check their website at: