Rotary District 7690 - Piedmont NC - Zone 33

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March 5, 2012

On behalf of the Triad Flight of Honor, we wish to thank the entire community for your overwhelming support over the last two years. Until now, the Triad simply did not have a program to show its admiration and appreciation for our WWII veterans. What began as a major service project for the 52 Rotary clubs in the Triad area quickly became a community-wide effort. In Rotary our motto is “Service Above Self” and what better way to demonstrate that than by showing tribute to our distinguished WWII veterans.

Our WWII veterans, now in the twilight of their lives, have been provided the opportunity to see and experience their memorial in Washington and witness the welcome home they may not have received after the war. Along the way, the widespread media coverage through WXII, Dick Broadcasting, and numerous newspapers in our communities has touched the hearts, minds, and wallets of the general public throughout the Triad. Countless businesses, civic clubs, schools, churches, and individuals from all corners of the Triad offered contributions to make these trips a reality for our WWII veterans. Lives have been forever changed. Veterans who could never talk about their experiences are now sharing their stories and young children have stood in awe to see and touch a real life American hero. This has been a good news story all the way around and scrapbooks will be passed down for generations to come.

Since our inaugural flight in October 2009, we completed 13 flights taking 1,300 local WWII veterans on a one-day trip to Washington, DC. More than 2,000 people have directly participated in these flights and we hesitate to guess how many thousands more have been forever inspired by what they saw, read, witnessed in person at the airport, or heard directly from our veterans.

With a heavy heart, we announce that our flight on Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2011 was the last flight of our program. Having met so many WWII veterans through this program, we can attest that they are a modest and humble generation. They each have a gentle heart, a gift from God through the passage of time. They are a “band of brothers” bound by duty, honor, and country and in the words of Winston Churchill, “never was so much owed by so many to so few”. Though they never asked for this recognition and certainly never expected it, the privilege of taking them to see their memorial in Washington has been our highest honor. Everything good in our lives is because of them. Through your support, we have truly honored our WWII veterans for their service and sacrifice in our country’s darkest days and ultimate victory in WWII. Their generation and their war will never ever be forgotten. They have and will always be our greatest generation.

Jeff Sims, Guy Maffett, Mitzi Ellis
Program Directors
Triad Flight of Honor

Approximately 100 veterans have been served per flight. The remaining 50 seats are assigned to guardians (roughly 33 per flight), floating guardians, a flight doctor, two EMT's, media representatives, team leaders, and a flight director. Past flights:

Flight DateFlight Director
October 3, 2009Mitzi Ellis
October 28, 2009Jeff Sims
April 17, 2010LeeSa Cornelius
May 11, 2010Jeff Sims
May 22, 2010Guy Maffett
September 18, 2010Kyle Swicegood
October 6, 2010Rodney Hazel
October 30, 2010Guy Maffett
April 16, 2011Randy Elliot
(This flight sponsored by Wellspring Retirement Community in Greensboro)
May 18, 2011Mike Shaw
September 17, 2011Roger Sims
October 15, 2011Scott Moffit
November 11, 2011Jeff Sims

 

November 15, 2010

We are pleased to announce that the Triad Flight of Honor has scheduled two flights (100 veterans per flight) in the spring of 2011 on Saturday, April 16 and Wednesday, May 18. Wellspring Retirement Community in Greensboro proudly sponsors the flight on April 16, 2011. With over 250 applications from local WWII veterans on our waiting list, many of these seats have been assigned although there are a few remaining sponsorship seats available. Our goal is to notify all the veterans on our spring flights by Christmas 2010 and flight dates for the fall of 2011 will be announced in the spring.

As a major service project of Rotary District 7690, Rotarians have been a tremendous advocate for the Triad Flight of Honor program and have helped identify and sponsor veterans in our communities. Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self" and what better way to demonstrate that than by honoring our WWII veterans. Generations will talk about what we are doing today and with your help we are proud to continue the Triad Flight of Honor in 2011.


August 20, 2010

Based on the overwhelming veteran interest and support from our communities, we have closed out our fall 2010 flights on September 18, October 6, and October 30. Over the last 13 months, we have received applications from more than 1,200 local WWII veterans and over 500 individuals that want to be guardians. By the end of 2010, we will have sent 800 WWII veterans to see their Memorial in Washington, DC. We are seeking volunteers to help at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) on the day of the flights. If interested please call our information line at 336-285-8847.

While we have not scheduled specific dates, we will continue the program in 2011 with flights beginning in the spring and are now accepting sponsorships for veteran spots.


March 24, 2010

The Triad Flight of Honor is getting ready for the 2010 flying season! After our very successful flights in the fall, we have chartered six (6) flights in 2010. Since July 2009, we have received applications from nearly 900 WWII veterans that want to see their Memorial in Washington, DC. As a service project of District 7690, our Rotary clubs have played a key role in the success of this program and have provided grassroots support for identifying and sponsoring veterans in our communities. Thank you for giving them this opportunity and the homecoming they never received while paying tribute to their courage, valor, and sacrifice.

 

      The following organizations make the Triad Flight of Honor possible . . .

      • To learn about the support and involvement of WXII12-TV click here
      • TFOH Flight Director Jeff Sims is honored by the West Point Society of the Piedmont

      DG Mike 'escorts' the Andy Griffith Show's 'Thelma-Lou' (Betty Lynn) after the trip to Washington. Click on photo to see what Mike's club thought of that!

      Howard Allred thanks WXII-12 for their efforts
      on behalf of Triad Flight of Honor.
      (Howard, PDG Don Allred's dad passed away 10 days later. He was the last of the "brothers" who met weekly for breakfast. "Brother's Breakfast" became an institution when the leadership of District 7690 started meeting with the Allred brothers in December 2004)
      (click on photo to enlarge)

      Rotary District 7690 Triad Flights of Honor - photos

      • Photos taken by Paul and Scott MacKenzie:
        Listed below is an email from Paul MacKenzie who along with his brother have done an outstanding job capturing pictures from all our flights. Please see how you can download and save pictures from your flight as a reminder of this amazing experience.
      "My brother Scott and I have been photographing the departures and arrivals of all five of the Triad Flights of Honor (and the actual trip itself for Flight #2 on October 28, 2009), and we'd be very happy to share the pictures with any of the veterans, guardians, and their families and friends who want them. They can be viewed on these sights:To get the photographs, all you have to do is -

      1) scroll over the picture with the mouse. A popup menu will appear on the right side of the screen.
      2) click on "original". This will give them the best quality. It's a large file, so it will take a few seconds to load.
      3) when the picture fully loads on the computer, scroll over it with the mouse and right-click.
      4) left click on "save picture as".
      5) Name the picture whatever you wish, and click "save."
      6) That's it!


      The Triad Flight of Honor Experience Changes Lives:
      • A narrative by Kyle Swicegood - October 4, 2009
      • More from Kyle Swicegood - May 22, 2010
      October 28, 2009

      Press Release

      West Point Society of the Piedmont


      The West Point Society of the Piedmont announced today that Jeff Sims will receive its Leadership Award at its annual Founders Day dinner on March 20, 2010.

      Jeff is being honored for his outstanding leadership of the Triad Flight of Honor program having served as Flight Director for the flights. The Triad Flight of Honor is a service project of Rotary District 7690, which includes the 11 county region of the Piedmont. Rotarians and other community organizations and businesses are united to honor World War II veterans for their courage, valor and sacrifice to our country.

      In 2009, the Triad Flight of Honor conducted two flights sending 200 WWII veterans plus volunteer guardians and support personnel to Washington, D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial. Through Jeff's leadership, there will be an additional six flights in 2010. A total of 800 veterans are expected to take the trip and the fundraising total will exceed $500,000 to defray the costs of the flights. The timing of these flights is critical since many of our WWII veterans, now in their mid 80's, have never had the opportunity to visit their Memorial, which was opened in 2004.

      Jeff Sims is a Vice President/Commercial Loan Officer for Bank of Granite. He is a 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Jeff and his wife Sandra and their two children live in Greensboro. In addition, Jeff is a Major in the North Carolina Army National Guard with 25 years of service and deployed to Iraq in 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

      In announcing the award, Bill Trivette, the President of the West Point Society of the Piedmont, commended Jeff on his outstanding leadership and his admiration and respect for our WWII veterans, which he has exhibited in every interaction with the volunteer committees, various speaking engagements, and fundraising efforts. Bill also commented on the similarities in the West Point motto of "Duty, Honor, and Country" and the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self".

       

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