You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Honor Flight founder gets national honor

Enon man founded veterans program that has become national.Military Clark County

With more than 20,000 World War II veterans on a waiting list to receive a free trip to Washington, D.C., and 900 of them dying every day, Earl Morse is happy to get as much free publicity as he can for Honor Flight.

The national organization he founded in Springfield in 2005 to fly veterans incapable of getting to the National World War II Memorial on their own only flies when enough private donations are received.

That need for awareness is the only reason Morse said he will accept a national award Tuesday from the American Academy of Physician Assistants for his work as a physician assistant in the federal sector.

The 54-year-old Enon resident, who started Honor Flight while working in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ outpatient clinic on Burnett Road, will be given the academy’s top honor for a federal sector physician assistant at its 41st annual conference in the nation’s capital.

The academy represents more than 90,000 certified physician assistants.

“Usually, the award goes to a military person,” said Morse, a retired Air Force captain who previously served as a flight medic and physician assistant in the military.

The academy selected Morse for establishing Honor Flight.

“There are PAs on the frontlines right now being shot at. I’ve never been shot at,” he said. “I don’t feel I deserve it when there are people in harm’s way right now.”

He admits that working with the Greatest Generation has had an impact on him.

“The World War II veterans we take on Honor Flight, they never go around banging their chest talking about how great they are,” Morse said. “Some of that has rubbed off on me.”

Honor Flight officially began in May 2005, when six private planes flew out of the Springfield airport carrying 12 World War II veterans to see their newly dedicated memorial. Morse was one of the pilots.

“I am being recognized for something I love and thoroughly enjoy,” he said. “Getting an award for that just feels awkward.”

Morse also is featured in the latest issue of People magazine — with Angelina Jolie on the cover — as a “Hero Among Us.” He notes that Jennifer Aniston is on the opposite page.

“I honestly feel I am the Forrest Gump of nonprofit organizers,” he joked.

While still based in Springfield, the nonprofit organization he started is now a nationwide network of 119 hubs in 40 states, and has switched exclusively to commercial aircraft.

Close to 100,000 veterans have so far been escorted to Washington and back free of charge.

“If you had a chance to take Abe Lincoln to the Lincoln Memorial, would you?” Morse asked. “That’s what it’s like for all of us in Honor Flight.”

Morse left the local VA clinic to devote time to Honor Flight, but he soon realized he missed treating veterans.

After three years at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, he recently returned to work at the Burnett Road clinic.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration
Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration

As the nation's security agencies gear up for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, some experts in the field are warning of the potential for volatility. >> Read more trending stories  "Unlike previous inaugurations in presidential history, this is predicted to be the most volatile," said Ross Bulla, a security...
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’

As a war of words plays out between President-elect Donald Trump and Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, one is left to wonder what MLK Jr. would have done in the wake of the 2016 election. >> Read more trending stories  Two days before her famous father's birthday, the daughter of the civil rights icon answered that question...
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter waded into controversial territory over the weekend when he wrote a Facebook post calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis -- a civil rights legend already locked in a war of words with President-elect Donald Trump -- a “racist pig.” The reaction to Hunter, a Republican, taking on Lewis a few days before...
Another musical act drops out of Trump inauguration lineup
Another musical act drops out of Trump inauguration lineup

It was announced last week that the B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, was going to perform at the Garden State Inaugural Gala to ring in the Trump-Pence administration with song. Not anymore. >> Read more trending stories  The band, which performed after two election wins by outgoing President Obama, told 'Entertainment...
Civil rights activist urges for understanding at Wittenberg event

A longtime civil rights activist urged students and community members to fight for policies and principles they believe in, but stressed they should avoid personal attacks on those with whom they disagree. Dorothy Tillman, a civil rights activist and a former Chicago alderman, was the guest speaker for Wittenberg University’s annual Martin Luther...
More Stories