Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Veterans return from Honor Flight sponsored by Wisconsin Energy Foundation

Every Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., for World War II veterans is special for those who get to visit their memorial. The flight on April 28 for 112 veterans also was special for our company because it was sponsored by the Wisconsin Energy Foundation and attended by two of our executives.

The executives, who were privileged to join the flight as guardians, were Kevin Fletcher, senior vice president – customer operations, and Charles Matthews, senior vice president – wholesale energy and fuels. 

Matthews described the veterans this way: “Sacrifice. Being surrounded by these veterans and hearing their firsthand accounts of where they served, you fully understand what those guys gave during the war. Throughout the day, you could see the memories on their faces.”

Honor Flight participants included, left to right,
Kevin Fletcher; Harvey Kurz, WWII veteran
and retired employee of Wisconsin Gas Co.;
and Charles Matthews.
Fletcher agreed: “Bob Cutter, a 92-year-old Marine, told me that this was the most memorable day of his life. The most impressive sight for me that day was when these veterans would shake hands with younger people who had lined the aisles in airports and at the memorials. They were keeping the memory alive through this contact. As a relatively new employee of We Energies, I am extremely proud of my company. It was an honor to participate.”

Matthews and Fletcher both said that during orientation to serve as a guardian, they were told to expect to hear stories from the veterans – stories that the veterans had never shared with their families. They heard stories of brave men who were in their late teens or early 20s engaged in conflict and dealing with the aftermath of battles. 

Wisconsin Energy Foundation has been a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight sponsor from the beginning. Looking ahead, the foundation is sponsoring the Field of Honor event Aug. 11 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Highlights of the event include:

The Pillars of Honor. This display is the architect’s model that was crafted for the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. The model is headed to the Smithsonian after it visits Milwaukee.

Honor Flight documentary. The premiere of a documentary about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flights will be shown on the stadium video scoreboard.

The public is invited to attend The Field of Honor: A Salute to the Greatest Generation. Tickets are $11 (plus a service charge) and may be purchased through the Milwaukee Brewers website, which also includes a schedule of events for the day. Proceeds support future Honor Flights. So far, more than 1,900 veterans from southeast Wisconsin have participated in the program since it began in 2008. The next flight is scheduled June 2.

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