Honor Flight growth has been impressive

A sign along the road last week reminded me of how much Honor Flight has grown from its simple start in Enon.

Since it began in Enon in 2005, Honor Flight has spread across the nation. Originally, Enon resident Earl Morse thought it would be a good way to give World War II veterans the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the new World War II Memorial.

The handful of veterans who took the first trip with Morse has grown to more than 138,000. They have traveled by RVs, buses and airplanes — all heading to the same place and all welcomed home as heroes.

In 10 short years, the organization has grown to have 44 hubs or centers of activity. According to its website, Honor Flight is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving veterans “honor and closure.” The mission of the group has been expanded to take Korean War veterans, Vietnam veterans and terminally ill veterans of any armed conflict to see their memorials.

Greenon graduate Randy Ark is a member of the National Board of Directors. When I asked him about the Soup Supper fund-raiser coming up May 2 at Rocky Point Chapel in Mad River Twp., I found out that I had much to learn about this great charity. I thought the event was presented by Honor Flight, but as it turns out that is not exactly how it works.

As he explained, Honor Flight does not manage the fund-raisers. Groups, businesses or individuals hold fund-raisers for Honor Flight, then donate proceeds to the non-profit organization. In other words, it is the personal efforts by the people in this community and communities around the country that send these honored veterans on this trip of a lifetime.

So at 4 p.m. May 2, Rocky Point Chapel, 3928 Old Mill Road, will be hosting a Ham and Beans and Vegetable Soup dinner and a silent auction to benefit Honor Flight. The dinners are $6 for adults and $4 for veterans and military. Children age 3 to 12 years are only $3. Younger little toddlers will not be charged for dinner.

This is not just an opportunity to support an honored organization. It is also an opportunity for community members to visit this beautiful little brick church that has stood in this quiet corner of the county since the 1860s. In fact, I imagine most folks will have to look the address up on a map to find the chapel.

I’ve heard it referred to as the “Church in the Wildwood” and indeed it is that, too.

This historic little chapel stands on rocky topography. A creek winds its way along the road cutting deeper into the layers of rocks and through the yards of houses.

Near the intersection of Old Mill Road and Rocky Point, a short bridge over the creek was built about the same time as the chapel. On the surface it looks like any modern bridge but in reality the modern cement and steel bridge was designed to preserve one of the oldest stone arch bridges in this area. It can be seen through the trees from the chapel grounds if the vegetation has not filled out too much.

Beyond the bridge to the south, the stream cuts even deeper on its way to Mud Run. Modern houses cling to the small cliffs to take advantage of the view. I think it is one of the prettiest corners of this area.

But once again I’ve gotten off the subject. I do not mean to distract from this event and from the fact that Honor Flight is so worthy of our support.

Community members who would like to assist the efforts of Honor Flight, should visit www.honorflight.org or call 937-521-2400.

The website has a ton of information, and relates all the details better than I can. It also has a list of ways to donate, sponsor and volunteer. Frankly, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t gotten involved in some way. This is indeed a national effort, but at the same time it takes the personal efforts of thousands to make it work.

I love the Will Rogers quote Honor Flight has on its website because it perfectly sums it up: “We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they walk by.”

If you want to join in the cheering and tell these veterans how much we appreciate what they have done, supporting Honor Flight is a good way to do it.

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