Friday, January 24, 2014

Foundation forms long-lasting sponsorship with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Wisconsin’s branch of the national Honor Flight Network, sponsors trips for veterans to visit their war memorials in Washington, D.C. Since its inception, We Energies Foundation has provided ongoing support for the organization and the veterans it serves.

The national Honor Flight Network started in 2004 when Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain, asked his patients at a Veterans Administration clinic in Ohio whether they would ever travel to visit their recently completed memorial in Washington, D.C. Most replied that they couldn’t make the trip – financially or physically – on their own.

As a private pilot, Morse offered to fly one of his patients to see the memorial for free. His patient graciously accepted. So did another a week later. Realizing that many veterans would react the same way, Morse began asking for help from other pilots. All he asked was that the veterans be flown to D.C. free of charge and that they be escorted during their visit. Eleven pilots volunteered, and Honor Flight was born.

Just a few years later, Wisconsin Stars and Stripes Honor Flights (SSHF) had its inaugural flight of 70 veterans. Our foundation supported that first flight in November 2008 and continues to support the effort, which has made 19 more flights involving nearly 3,000 veterans through 2013.

In 2013, SSHF began a transition to fly Korean War veterans to see their memorial. Some 40,000 Korean War-era veterans live in Wisconsin.

In addition to the Honor Flights, our company and foundation also has supported other SSHF activities:
  • Underwriting the production and packaging of a limited-edition DVD of the documentary film “Honor Flight,” which was released nationwide in May 2013. The purchase of each DVD supported the mission of flying additional veterans to Washington, D.C. The film featured four Milwaukee-area World War II veterans and the local volunteers. Honor Flight hubs across the nation continue to use the film to heighten awareness of the program and raise funds for flights from their own communities.
  • Sponsoring the film’s premiere at Milwaukee’s Miller Park on Aug. 11, 2012, which set a Guinness World Record for the largest film screening ever – 28,442. 
  • Underwriting “Honor Flight: A Visual Journey,” a book produced in 2013 that celebrates the Stars and Stripes Honor Flights. The book includes five years of photographs from 18 Honor Flights to find the most moving images that tell the Honor Flight story through the eyes of our nation’s aging heroes. Proceeds from the book benefit Honor Flight and Fisher House Wisconsin.

No comments: