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DuPage Veterans attracted more than 1,200 to their Honor Flight fundraiser


UPDATE / May 10, 2014: This past Wed., May 7, another Honor Flight Chicago departed from Midway Airport to Washington, D.C., with World War II and Korean War veterans and their escorts in order to visit the World War II Memorial and other sites in the nation’s capital. Photographer Jim Hoch attended their welcome back at Midway as the veterans returned home after their day-long tour, an enthusiastic reception that attracted friends, family, well-wishers and the Firefighters Highland Guard of Naperville.

Honor Flight - Midway Airport - May 7, 2014
The Firefighters HIghland Guard of Naperville was among the welcome home team. Photo by James Hoch Photography.

“I hooked up with the crew that went to the return of the Honor Flight this past Wednesday,” wrote Hoch. “What a grand tribute to these veterans! Not a dry eye in the house, and it was a big house! I had seen return flights on the news, but didn’t get a sense for just how many people are actually in the airport awaiting their arrival – thousands!!! Fantastic, simply fantastic.”

Honor Flight - Midway Airport - May 7, 2014
Veterans from Naperville were among greeters who paid gracious tribute to military men and women who went on the May 7 Honor Flight Chicago.

A large gallery of photos by James Hoch Photography is posted at the following link: http://jameshochphotography.smugmug.com/Military/Honor-Flight/Honor-Flight-2014-05.

PN appreciates the link from Jim Hoch that showcases the spirit of the Honor Flight Chicago tribute to veterans who answered the call to serve our nation in times of its greatest need.

Honor Flight Chicago #56 is slated for June 4, 2014. For info about the organization, visit the Honor Flight Chicago website.

Honor Flight fundraiser on May 3, 2014

The 3rd Annual Honor Flight Chicago Fundraiser hosted by the DuPage Veterans Foundation was held 11AM-3PM Sat., May 3, 2014.

Dozens of displays welcomed visitors to learn about Honor Flights and many other veterans organizations.

According to one of the DuPage Veterans Foundation organizers, Wayne Fischer, who also is a member of other local veterans organizations that help veterans, the public event held in the Calamos Hangar at the DuPage County Airport in West Chicago grows every year with the aim to raise enough funds to pay for one completely full Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The 2014 event attracted more than 1,200 individuals to the lunchtime fundraiser.

In addition, the fundraiser with its musical tributes, historic exhibits and recognition ceremonies is a time to show appreciation to veterans who might be unable to take the flight to Washington.

“One of the reasons we do the ‘fundraiser’ in the way we do is so those veterans that might not be up for the Honor Flight can still  have their day in the sun,” said Fischer.

For the past three events, John Calamos has made his hangar at the DuPage County Airport available for the event. The large 30,000 ft. facility was set with 100 tables to seat 1,000 for lunch. With event sponsor Calamos Investments and all other generous sponsorships as well as proceeds from the silent auction items and other donations, members of the all-volunteer DuPage Veterans Foundation likely will exceed the $55,000 it takes to fund one Honor Flight to the nation’s capital.

Mae Calamos and John Calamos are pictured by his Siai Marchetti, manufactured in 1987, one of the aircraft on display for the Honor Flight fundraiser. John Calamos served as a U.S. Air Force Pilot, flying missions during the Vietnam era and the Cold War.

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 and Korean War 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.

Informative displays of memorabilia as well as exhibits of historic military vehicles and planes were big attractions inside and outside.

Enjoy Patriotic Exhibits & Live Entertainment

Rich Jorgensen, also a member of the DuPage Veterans Foundation, welcomed everyone to the patriotic event where huge American flags provided the backdrop. He also enlisted the help of Bruce Rauner for the grand raffle drawing.

Rauner has attended the last two Honor Flight fundraisers at the DuPage County Airport, expressing his gratitude and support to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in the military.

Representatives from the DuPage Veterans Foundation were happy to receive a gift from  the Rauner Foundation that will help send 20 veterans with escorts to Washington, D.C., on the Honor Flight.

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

Educational exhibits featuring vintage aircraft enhanced the enjoyment of the Honor Flight Chicago fundraiser.

The Legacy Girls performed classic World War II songs in the spirit of the Andrews Sisters. Their lively music attracted dancing in the aisles. After their lively performances on stage, the Legacy Girls mixed with the audience, sharing their time for photo opportunities with many World War II veterans in attendance.

The Legacy Girls brought back memories with their tributes to the service men and women.

For nearly 13 years, it has been the aim of Positively Naperville to publish with gratitude its recognition of veterans and their families that have served to secure peace with sacrifice while protecting the freedoms of this nation, starting in our local community. Freedom isn’t free. God bless, America.

For more information about the Honor Flight Chicago, contact (630) 614-4533 or (630) 668-2050 or info@dupageveteransfoundation.org. To find out more online or to make a donation, visit www.dupageveteransfoundation.org.

Organizers plan to host the 2015 Honor Flight luncheon fundraiser on the first Saturday in May.  Save the date. The event is a public and patriotic way to kick off the merry month of May that wraps up with Memorial Day tributes to all whom have given commitment and the ultimate sacrifice by serving this great nation.

May events leading up to Memorial Day Parade / Veterans Helping Veterans

After Saturday’s event in the Calamos Hangar at the DuPage County Airport, Wayne Fischer —who served as a U.S. Marine aviator during operations in Vietnam during the late 1960s and continues actively to serve veterans via Naperville VFW and American Legion posts— sent the following calendar of May events leading up to Memorial Day. The long list of “veterans helping veterans” is related news featured below for your information.

Thanks to The Legacy Girls, Wayne Fischer and all members of the Honor Flight fundraising committee for remembering World War II veterans.

10-11AM Sat., May 10:  Coffee with Veterans at Devonshire in Lisle.

6-8AM Thurs., May 15:  Post 43 Poppy Day at the Naperville Downtown Railroad Station, Rt. 59 Railroad Station and the Lisle Railroad Station.   Extra Poppies and cans will be at all three train stations.

10AM-4PM Thurs., May 15:  Veterans Hiring Expo at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.   Spread the word.

10-11AM Sat., May 17: Coffee with the Vets at  Independence Village.

2PM Sat., May 17: Flag Dedication in memory of Lee Lindberg’s wife, Dee, at Our Saviour’s Community Center on Washington.

buddy-poppyMay 20-26: Buddy Poppy Distribution for VFW Post 3873 from various locations, including Casey’s Foods.

10AM Thurs., May 22: Memorial Service at the Carillon on 95th Street, west of Route 59.

2PM Thurs., May 22:  Memorial Service at Devonshire in Lisle .

8AM Fri., May 23:  Placing of flags at Veterans grave sites at Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery.

11AM Fri., May 23:  Memorial Service at Tabor Hills with lunch for all attendees.

8AM Sat., May 24:  Placing of flags at Veterans gravesites in Naperville Cemetery.

8AM Mon., May 26: Memorial Day starts with Ceremony at the CMDR Dan Shanower/9/11 Memorial, followed by visits to all veterans memorials in Naperville parks and cemeteries.

Also keep in mind that the Naperville Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10:30AM May 26 where the community will line Jackson Avenue from Centennial Beach all the way along Washington Street to Central Park in true enthusiastic American spirit.

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, complete with laying of the wreath,  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.

8AM Wed., May 28:  Pick up American flags starting at Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery, then proceeding to Naperville Cemetery.

FYI: Gallery of photos from the Honor Flight Fundraiser by James Hoch Photography.

Post updated with additional photos on May 4, 2014 and May itinerary provided by Wayne Fischer.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.