In a follow-up to our story last month about efforts to organize a “Freedom Flight” for veterans to Washington, D-C., event coordinator Steve Livengood, a retired veteran, says the date for the flight has been set, and there are still plenty of seats available. The event begins at 5:30-p.m. Mon., June 16th with an Honor Dinner at the Atlantic Community Center. A bus will leave Atlantic at around 7:30-p.m. and arrive in Des Moines for an overnight stay in a motel.
Wake-up is bright and early Tuesday June 17th at 0300 hours (3-a.m.), followed by a continental breakfast and a trip to the Des Moines International Airport with the Boeing 737 flight becoming airborne at around 6-a.m. The flight will land in Washington, D-C at around 9-a.m., local time. Veterans will tour all of the monuments during the day.
Wheels-up for the flight home is at around 7:30-p.m. Eastern Time, with arrival in Des Moines at 10:30-p.m. Central Time. A bus will then bring the vet’s straight home to Atlantic. Two successful businessmen Roger Underwood and Jeff Becker, both of whom are natives of Atlantic, are funding the entire trip for up to 150 veterans of southwest Iowa. The Freedom Flight is open to any veteran, not just World War Two or Korean War Vet’s as is the case with the “Honor Flights.”
He says Afghanistan War Vet’s in the 20’s will be alongside World War 2 Vet’s in their 80’s and veterans of all ages in-between. About a dozen “Guardians” with special skills will be on the trip to help veterans get around once the plane lands in D-C. Some of the guardians will be younger veterans who are taking the trip and serving as a helper to their older comrades.
Livengood says the Vet’s “Will do what they do best, which is take care of each other.” Veterans interested in taking the trip and/or those interested in helping prepare for the event, should contact Steve Livengood at 712-243-5445.