With a new board at the controls, Ellis County Honor Flight is gearing up for its next mission.
“We are planning our next trip to Washington, D.C. this spring, with a tentative date set in early May,” said Ron Langenheder, the new chairman of Ellis County Honor Flight.
Ellis County Honor Flight was established as a local chapter of National Honor Flight in August of 2008. The mission of Honor Flight is to provide World War II veterans the opportunity to see the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. at no charge to them.
Last year, Ellis County Honor Flight was able to raise enough funds to take 41 World War II veterans from the area to the nation’s capitol.
Langenheder said the spring trip will be limited to 55 people, with the goal of taking 35 veterans and 20 guardians.
Guardians, each required to pay their own expenses, work to assist the veterans throughout the trip.
Langenheder said applications for both veterans and guardians wanting to take part in the spring trip are still being accepted.
“We’ve received a number of applications already. Each application is date-stamped as it is received and priority is given according to when the application is received,” he said. “If you are a World War II veteran and would like to take part, it is absolutely vital to get your application in as quickly as possible.”
Both veteran and guardian applications can be obtained on the organization’s Web site at www.elliscountyhonorflight.com.
“Thanks to the generosity of ECTISP.net, which is hosting our Web site, and a local Web master who designed our page, I was able to get our own Web site launched and on the Internet,” Langenheder said. “In addition to photos from our trip in November, you can find application forms that can be printed, filled out and mailed in.”
Langenheder said completed forms should be mailed to Ellis County Honor Flight at P.O. Box 35, Waxahachie, TX 75168.
With a new board in place, Langenheder said he expects to announce the list of those participating in the spring trip following the board’s next meeting in early March.
Langenheder said preliminary estimates indicate it will cost about $35,000 to take the 35 World War II veterans to Washington.
“I’m also working diligently to raise those funds that will make this trip possible. As we did last year, we need the community’s support and donations,” he said, reminding everyone that Ellis County Honor Flight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with all donations tax deductible.
During last year’s trip, the organization raised nearly $70,000. The unused funds from that trip, totaling nearly $20,000, are being carried over for the next group of veterans.
“With the balance that we had on hand from the last trip, we’re more than half-way there,” Langenheder said. “Every cent that’s raised goes directly toward funding an Honor Flight trip for a World War II veteran. The guardians pay their own expenses.
“Once again, I’m asking for businesses, churches, individuals and schools to help us make this trip possible for our heroes who haven’t had a chance to see their memorials,” Langenheder said. “Time is of the essence, as these men and women are in their late 70s, 80s and 90s and we’re losing our World War II veterans at a rate of more than 1,000 a week.”
Because the National World War II Memorial wasn’t dedicated until 2004, Langenheder said many of these men and women have never had the opportunity to see and receive the tribute they deserve for their courage and sacrifice during the war.
Langenheder said that tax-deductible donations may be made via credit card on the organization’s Web site, or by mailing in a check to post office box.
“I’ve also arranged to have a booth at several of the upcoming chamber and lawn and garden expos so I can help get out the word,” he said.
For more information on Ellis County Honor Flight, contact Ron Langenheder at 972-617-2574 or 214-957-8341.
On the Net
To mail donations or applications
Ellis County Honor Flight
P.O. Box 35
Waxahachie, TX 75168
Ron Langenheder, chairman
Ellis County Honor Flight