Local Veterans Honored at First Honor Flight of the Collier County Chapter
In celebration of Veteran's Day last month, the sacrifices our local veterans have made for this country were honored as 52 Southwest Florida Veterans traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first Honor Flight of the Collier County chapter. Honor Flight Network, an organization established in 2005, provides war veterans a free trip to Washington to visit the National World War II Memorial and other memorials in the nation's capital. Guardians fly with the veterans on every flight providing assistance and helping veterans have a safe, memorable and rewarding experience.
Serving as inspiration to this important event, local community citizens decided a local chapter was needed. In just five short weeks, the chapter was established, funds were raised and local veterans and guardians were invited to participate - just in time for Veteran's Day! All of this would not have been possible without the many people in Collier County who stepped up to help our veterans, including Arthrex's own Purchasing Card Administrator, Linda Valentine, who serves as secretary on the board of the local chapter.
"I have been privileged to serve on the Board of Collier County's first Honor Flight organization," said Linda. "Our first flight, which was comprised of 52 veterans, had 42 from WWII and 10 from the Korean Conflict. Arthrex has been very generous to us by agreeing to support us with a donation, and allowing our employees to volunteer."
Linda invited her team members to participate in welcoming the veterans home. "Our department took an afternoon as a team-building exercise and made home-made cookies for the veterans to snack on. As they returned to the Fort Myers terminal, many shouted to me how much they enjoyed the cookies."
Andrew Rzasa, Card & Travel Programs Manager, took part in the welcoming reception to honor the veterans. "I can say without hesitation that the honor to stand and welcome that flight home was all mine. It was an incredibly humbling and uplifting experience that I sincerely hope others will partake in for future flights. Just an incredible experience!"
Today and every day, Arthrex is committed to supporting our veterans through ongoing charitable initiatives in the community, such as the Honor Flight. The next flight will be in spring 2014, and Linda plans to go as a guardian for one of our veterans.
"For myself, I can only say it is the absolute best thing I have ever been involved with," she says.
To view a photo slideshow montage of the day's Honor Flight events, click here.