Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Honor Flight ‘very meaningful for all involved’

We Energies employee volunteers helped World War II, Korean War and other veterans as they embarked on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight that departed early Sunday morning from Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport.
Bob Hunter and Randy Jerome at Arlington 

Among these volunteers were two guardians who traveled to Washington, D.C., with the 90 veterans: Randy Jerome and Renee Rabiego-Tiller, two employees with military ties. Their connections to the Honor Flight through their families were highlighted in an earlier post.

“I am very proud the company supports the Honor Flights, and it was my privilege to represent the company,” said Jerome of his experience as a guardian. “The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight organization did a tremendous job in shepherding the group and making it very meaningful for all involved.”

Jerome and Rabiego-Tiller were joined by 13 other We Energies employees who volunteered to help with the morning send-off at the airport.

Employee Amy Cowdery was reunited
with a high school friend.
“Throughout the day, I was incredibly proud and pleased when a multitude of strangers young and old, from the USA and from foreign countries, stopped our veterans to thank them for their service,” Rabiego-Tiller said. “It was especially touching while visiting the Korean memorial when citizens from South Korea stopped our veterans to take pictures with them and to thank them for fighting for their country.”  

“The morning was incredibly emotional and rewarding,” said Amy Cowdery, a We Energies IT specialist, whose parents were active in veterans’ organizations when she was growing up. “I greeted the veterans and their guardians as they arrived while assisting with their check-in process. I was able to meet and talk with many of the veterans and especially enjoyed talking to the sole female veteran on this flight. A highlight of the morning was running into a friend from high school who was able to volunteer one last time as active military before her upcoming retirement from the military after 21 years of service.”  

“I loved, loved, loved it!” said Celia Chramega, a gas operations employee, whose father was a veteran and past Honor Flight participant. “I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of the morning with these great guys and walked away feeling warm and fuzzy inside because it was my dad’s birthday and I wanted to do this in memory of him. I even wore his Honor Flight jacket.”

“It was a really early morning, but well worth it. All of the veterans that I talked to were animated as they talked about the day ahead of them,” said Judy Runt, another employee, whose uncle was recently on an Honor Flight. “The guardians I talked to felt grateful to be able to experience and enjoy this with the veterans. The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight staff was very well organized, and you could tell that they had worked hard to make this a success for all involved.” 

“I really enjoyed the experience and would love to have the opportunity to do it again,” said Christy Schultz (right), computer system specialist, who was joined by Judy Runt, team leader, and 11 other We Energies colleagues who helped during the morning send off on May 21.

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