Collier County Honor Flight Oct. 25 - Join Arthrex in Helping to Welcome Veterans Home!
On Saturday, October 25, Collier County Honor Flight (CCHF) will take off on its fourth mission, bringing 50 WWII and Korean War Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the monuments erected in their honor with help from Arthrex. Arthrex, along with Moorings Park, is sponsoring this mission and will be well-represented. In addition to CCHF Secretary Linda Valentine, Arthrex Executive Chef William Blum, Director of Arthroplasty, Finance & Business Development Derrick Romine and Derrick’s wife Karen will be going as guardians. Also for the first time, CCHF will be taking a select group of local ROTC students, including Database Administrator Bill Canfield’s son Will, as guardians and honor guards. Once again Arthrex Photographer Chris Toalson will be the flight’s official photographer, and Southern Hemisphere team member Marli Carvalho will be doing her second stint as a volunteer assisting veterans and guardians with their tickets and getting safely on the flight.
Guardians are volunteers who are assigned to escort a veteran from the 4 a.m. start to the 10 p.m. landing. They play a critical role for the veteran during the day as the veterans of this era range in age from late eighties to early nineties. Throughout the day, a guardian sees to their veteran’s every need, taking them from place to place, often by wheelchair, listening to colorful stories of the war and forging what often becomes a life-long friendship with the veteran.
As a Gulf War Veteran, Derrick Romine knows first-hand the sacrifices these veterans have made and is thrilled to be a part of this fourth mission, along with his wife Karen. The Romines traveled the world during Derrick’s active duty with the Air Force and Derrick remains in service today as a dedicated member of the United States Air Force Reserve.
This will be the first trip to include local ROTC students. Bill Canfield and his family attended the third mission's Welcome Home Celebration at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) where his son Will got a taste of the Honor Flight experience. Along with guardian activities, ROTC students will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and Bill reports his son is excited and honored to be part of the upcoming trip.
The Welcome Home celebration at RSW is the perfect ending to a perfect day for the veterans, and something every Arthrex team member and family is welcome to participate in. For veterans and their families, the Welcome Home is often the highlight of the day and the memory they most treasure. Open to the general public, entire families return time and time again to this moving display of gratitude and patriotism. Veterans are often moved to tears by the children who stay up long past their bedtime who stand and salute, shake hands and wave flags. It is a sight to behold and an experience no American family should miss!
Click here to view a slideshow from the last Honor Flight by the Knights of Columbus. For more information on Collier County Honor Flight, please visit www.CollierHonorFlight.org.