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Kansas Honor Flight plans six trips for veterans in 2014

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at 3:09 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 2:35 p.m.

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The Kansas nonprofit that takes veterans to see their war memorials and other sites in the nation’s capital expects to take six more flights in 2014.

The first two will be April 16-18 and April 30-May 2, said Mike VanCampen, president of Hutchinson-based Kansas Honor Flight.

Dates for the other four flights haven’t been set yet, but they won’t be in July and August. Most likely they will be in June and then in the fall.

“We went up there in July last year when it was 108 degrees,” VanCampen said. “That was too much. So we’re going to skip July and August.”

The national Honor Flight Network was established in 2005 to take aging World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials. It has taken more than 117,500 veterans since its inception, including nearly 19,000 in 2013.

A Kansas hub for the grassroots organization started operating out of Great Bend in 2008 and took more than 1,100 on 17 flights before shutting down in mid-2012. Kansas Honor Flight began operating at that point and took 244 veterans to Washington on seven flights in 2013.

Most of the veterans on the first two flights in 2014 are expected to be from World War II, VanCampen said, but later flights are expected to include primarily Korean War vets.

There is no charge for veterans to make the trip, but each veteran must be accompanied by another person. Cost for that person is about $700, including airfare and lodging, VanCampen said.

To help send veterans on the flights, Kansas Honor Flight raised about $19,000 in November from a benefit dinner and silent auction at Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper in Benton. A golf tournament to raise money is set for June 9 at Willowbend Golf Course in Wichita. Details and entry fees will be determined later, VanCampen said.

Veterans interested in taking part in a flight should go to kansashonorflight.org or call 620-546-2400.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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