Honor Flight West Central Florida recently hosted 80 veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War on a tour of Washington, D.C. Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to honor America's veterans for their service to our nation. With almost 700 World War II veterans dying each day; the time to express our thanks to these brave men and women creates a "priority" to recognize and honor our veterans now!
Army 1st Lieutenant Dudley Davis (92) and his "guardian" former Naval Reservist Scott Daniels (65) celebrated Dudley's distinctive service to America in the Asian area of China, Burma and India, assisting in the "communications connections" for the Allies to be successful in winning World War II. Mr. Davis had not been to Washington, D.C. since 1937 when he attended a Boy Scout program on Columbia Island located in the Potomac River. Dudley was in awe with what he observed traveling by bus from BWI International Airport to Washington, D.C. Visiting the World War II Memorial was the one of the highlights of his adventure that day. Dudley and Scott were inspired at the World War II Memorial and the 50 "state columns" that surrounded the fountains and poignant words etched around the memorial. They took time to reflect at the state of Florida column. Dudley enjoyed the National Park Service presentation/explanation about the World War II Memorial and was welcomed by a group of "Pets For Vets" that brought a smile to everyone that day. Dudley and all the veterans were personally touched by their "mail call" experience on the returning flight home. Each veteran received a large, manila envelope with cards and letters from their families, friends, elected officials and community volunteers "thanking them for their service to our nation"!
Scott volunteered as a "guardian" in honor and memory of his father, Robert Daniels (U.S. Army Air Corp. who served in the Philippines). As a volunteer, Scott was impressed by the veterans' conversations, memories and stories of their service, love for America and how each veteran shared their wartime and post-wartime experiences. Scott confirmed and agreed with author and news commentator, Tom Brokaw that "These and all veterans are and were our among our greatest generation! They were and are our heroes!" Scott is a member of the Dunedin "Purple Heart Park" Committee honoring our veterans who have received a Purple Heart. It is the first, such designated park in the United States and in the state of Florida. Scott is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate and a member of the Coldwell Banker CARES Foundation Board (supported by all the Coldwell Banker real estate agents) that recently raised $20,000. for the Honor Flight West Central Florida organization and $20,000 for the USO at Tampa International Airport.
Dudley Davis and Scott Daniels were overwhelmed by the many volunteers in the Honor Flight West Central Florida organization who assisted with their orientation program and greeted them at 4:00 am in the morning at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport to assist with their departure and those volunteers and family and friends who greeted them upon their return after their "day of dedication to our veterans". Salutes, hugs, handshakes and "thank you for your service" were the responses wherever they went. It was a day that Dudley and Scott will always remember!
If you know a World War II, Korean or Vietnam War veteran who would be able to participate in the Honor Flight West Central Florida program and/or know someone who would want to be a "guardian/escort" to travel with these veterans; please contact the Honor Flight West Central Florida organization at: www.honorflightwcf.org
or call: 727-498-6079.