2016 flight schedule announced

Spring flight to be named ‘Sparta American Legion Post 100 Flight’

April 11, 2016, La Crosse, Wis – Freedom Honor Flight, the La Crosse-based hub of the national Honor Flight program for veterans, announced today its 2016 flight schedule. The spring flight is scheduled for May 7, 2016. The fall flight is set for September 17, 2016. The organization has taken more than 1,600 veterans on a flight to date. The 2016 flights will be the 17th and 18th held.

Officials also announced that the May 7 flight will be named “Sparta American Legion Post 100 Flight,” in recognition of the support the Sparta post and community have provided to Freedom Honor Flight over the past several years. Sparta Post 100 has raised and donated more than $150,000. This remarkable amount from a community has in effect, paid for 300 veterans to be honored on a one-day trip to Washington D.C. to see their memorials.

Support of this kind is increasingly important for honor flight organizations. “The cost of each flight has increased by more than $20,000 over the past two to three years,” said Pat Stephens, president of the La Crosse-based Freedom Honor Flight. Stephens recently attended a national conference of honor flight officials from many of the 130 hubs in 44 U.S. states. “Not all hubs are in as good of financial shape as ours,” he shared. “The financial support of generous individuals, corporate sponsors and communities like Sparta, allow us to properly thank our veterans by taking them on an honor flight.” S

The May 7 flight will have seven WWII veterans, 78 Korean veterans and three Vietnam veterans. Veterans are selected in order of application, though World War II veterans have priority status. Ten of the veterans on the spring flight are flying under the TLC (Their Last Chance) program; which allows terminally ill veterans to fly under priority status. There are 350 veterans on the hub’s waiting list.