Editor’s Update 2014: The 3rd Annual Honor Flight Fundraiser is set for 11AM-3PM Sat., May 3, 2014. The event held at the DuPage County Airport grows every year with the aim to raise enough funds to pay for one completely full Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Thanks on behalf of all veterans and their families that have served and sacrificed for this nation. God bless, America.

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Korean War veteran Lee Lindberg urges families, friends and neighbors to help locate veterans who served in WWII and the Korean War in order to take them fully escorted on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. (2013 PN Photo)

Need info? Contact: (630) 614-4533 or (630) 668-2050 or info@dupageveteransfoundation.org. To find out more online, visit www.dupageveteransfoundation.org.

Also keep in mind that the Naperville Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10:30AM May 26 in downtown Naperville. A special Memorial Day Observance will follow at 12:15PM with musical tributes that honor sacrifice and military service in Central Park. The patriotic ceremony lasts 30 minutes. The Memorial Day Parade and the Observance are hosted by the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and the American Legion Post 43. The public is welcome.

Editor’s Update on March 9, 2013: The 2nd Annual Honor Flight Fundraiser is set for 11AM-3PM Sat., May 4, 2013.

DuPage Veterans Foundation hosts benefit to fund Honor Flight Chicago

Posted 2012: Tables and chairs to seat 1,000 guests were set up in the Calamos Hangar at the DuPage County Airport in West Chicago by volunteers and friends of the DuPage Veterans Foundation on Sat., May 5. The Honor Flight Chicago Fundraiser opened its doors at 11AM with a goal to raise enough funds to pay for one completely full Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

At first glance inside the large 30,000 ft. facility just after noon, the event appeared to be a sell-out, but Vietnam veteran Wayne Fischer, a volunteer member of the recently organized DuPage Veterans Foundation, said the count likely was about 900, including approximately 100 veterans who arrived via motorcycle. Still, with Event Sponsor Calamos Investments and all other sponsorships as well as proceeds from the silent auction items and other donations, Fischer was optimistic the group would meet its $55,000 goal to fund one Honor Flight to the nation’s capital.

Honor Flight

Since 2008, Honor Flight has been recognized by the State of Illinois “as a Homefront Hero for its patriotism, community spirit and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to support our brave troops and their families.” The Honor Flight is made available to any veteran in order of his/her service— WWII, Korean, Vietnam, etc., —who wishes to visit the memorials in Washington, D.C. This day trip is provided all expenses paid to the veteran in honor of his/her service to our country.

Fischer also explained that the foundation’s goal is to locate all World War II veterans to let them know about the opportunity and to encourage them to go. Finding the World War II veterans or veterans who are terminally ill is the top priority. To provide the most memorable experience possible, trained volunteer guardians will provide assistance as they accompany the veterans on their flight.

Enjoy Patriotic Exhibits

The lunch-time event at the DuPage County Airport featured informative displays of memorabilia as well as exhibits of military vehicles from the First Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton.

Rich Jorgensen, also a member of the foundation, welcomed everyone to the patriotic event where huge American flags provided the backdrop.

Antique emergency vehicles outside the hangar included a 1940 Packard ambulance, modern ambulances and a medical helicopter.

The exhibits of uniforms, letters, awards and firearms attracted the attention of all ages, including scouts who watched closely as a re-enactor demonstrated how a rifle could be taken apart and reassembled within minutes. “The parts of these rifles are interchangeable,” he explained, noting that men in the field were often able to repair their guns with discarded ones they found.

Dale Hoskinson set up his display of military uniforms, collections of letters written by men and women while in service as well as vintage posters depicting poignant messages about freedom and the American spirit. The militaria collector and preservationist is always seeking new items.  If you have any military gear or uniforms, contact Hoskinson at (630) 215-3664.

Live Entertainment

A costumed representative dressed as a WWII Girls Baseball player presented information about the WWII Girls Baseball Living History League. The reenactors honor the women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by playing exhibition baseball games at museum events and historical commemorations throughout the Midwest. Their Web site has more info: www.WW2GirlsBaseball.com.

Following tributes to active duty personnel and a Roll Call of World War II Veterans, buglers played Taps and the Naperville Fire Department Highland Guards performed Amazing Grace.

Afterward, the Legacy Girls performed classic World War II songs in the spirit of the Andrews Sisters.  Their lively music attracted dancing in the aisles.

Tributes to 26 individuals from DuPage County who had been killed in action serving in the military since September 11, 2001, were indeed sobering, especially noting that eight of the military men were from Naperville.

Editor’s Note: Upon reflection of the service and sacrifices of all the men and women who have served this nation in uniform during its first 236 years, we’re mindful of all military families. We’re also remembering more than 16 million men and women who served in the U.S. Military during World War II. We are grateful to live in a community where the veterans who served —whether at home or on the battlefield— continue to serve voluntarily at the Naperville American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and the Ladies Auxiliary to develop programs to help meet veterans’ unmet needs.

Donations to benefit the Honor Flight may be sent to: DuPage Veterans Foundation, P.O. Box 299, Wheaton, IL 60187.

Need info? Contact: (630) 614-4533 or (630) 668-2050 or info@dupageveteransfoundation.org.

Thanks for referencing the DuPage Veterans Foundation / Honor Flight Chicago with any donation.

Update May 11, 2012 from DuPage Veterans Foundation member Wayne Fischer:   More than 100 WW II veterans were in attendance and approximately 1,000 total attendees.   The weather was pretty good, but the low fog kept the era planes from being there.   The feedback has been very positive and as of this morning they have a net funds raised of just over $50,000 toward the goal of $55,000.  Donations are still being received and all will go to Honor Flight Chicago.  Appreciative members of the DuPage Veterans Foundation have decided to host the event again on Sat.,  May 4, 2013, in the Calamos Hangar at the Dupage Airport.  Save the date.

Remember. The 3rd Annual Honor Flight Fundraiser is May 3. The Naperville Memorial Day Parade steps off in downtown Naperville at 10:30AM Mon., May 26. 2014.  Immediately following the end of the parade, the 30-minute observance with tributes, brief speeches, patriotic music performed by the Naperville Municipal Band and the laying of the wreath, will take place at 12:15PM at the Community Concert Center  in Central Park.

Thanks for reading. See photos from 2012 and 2013 events below. Click on any photo to enlarge.