Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Words of gratitude for 10th anniversary Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

We again partnered with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to fly 145 veterans to Washington, D.C., Saturday, Nov. 3. The event welcomed three World War II veterans, seven Korean War veterans and 135 Vietnam War veterans. The day marked the 10th anniversary of the organization’s first flight. Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown over 6,000 WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to tour Washington’s WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more.

We Energies employees served as volunteers on flight day.
Over the years, our participation in these flights has offered our employees the opportunities to serve as guardians for the veterans, be part of the volunteer crews on flight day, and write letters of thanks given to veterans on the return flight.

Two employee guardians on the Nov. 3 flight, Jessica Banike (U.S. Air Force and Wisconsin Air National Guard) and Elton Rushlau (U.S. Navy), are both veterans themselves.

Banike accompanied Willie Seales, a Vietnam veteran who served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Rushlau accompanied two veterans, Mike Beres and Gregory Osborne. Both served in Vietnam for the U.S. Air Force.
Employee Jessica Banike and Vietnam veteran Willie Seales
at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
Seales, Beres and Osborne thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were very appreciative of everything that it took for their special day to happen. Seales pointed out that he received more words of gratitude for his service that day than he had received since he returned from Vietnam. 

Employee Elton Rushlau with Vietnam veterans Mike Beres and Gregory Osborne.
Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004, and many veterans are unable to visit Washington, D.C., without assistance. The average age of a WWII veteran is 93 years old, and only five years separate the average WWII veteran from the average Korean War veteran. Nationally, hubs in the Honor Flight network have taken well over 200,000 veterans to see their memorials.

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