ALEXANDRIA, VA-Honor Flights show our Veterans how much they are appreciated by bringing them to the nation’s capital to see the monuments built to honor them and their service. Right now, Honor Flight Chicago is seeking volunteers to serve as guardians for Veterans coming to DC.
The dates are April 10, May 15, June 19, July 24, Aug. 28, Sept. 25, and Oct. 23. Eighty to 100 volunteers are needed for each date. Find the 2024 DC Guardian Application HERE.
Guardians serve the essential function of caring for a Veteran’s well-being and comfort. Each volunteer is assigned one Veteran for the entire day – 8;15 am to 7:30 pm – who he or she will escort around the war memorials. Those seen as part of the tour are the Iwo-Jima, Air Force, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans Memorials, as well as the Lincoln Memorial and the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.
It is important to know that a Veteran is never left unattended. Guardians make sure the individual they escort stays hydrated, eats the meals provided, and takes medication if necessary. It is also the guardian’s responsibility to document the day by taking pictures. The Veteran may also need help with a wheelchair. Safety is the top priority.
The day can be a special experience for the guardian. Honor Flights Chicago says volunteers and Veterans can develop a close bond, adding that many Veterans share their stories – which they “may not have told to anyone since their time of service.”
Guardians meet the plane at Dulles Airport and ride charter busses to and from the memorials.
Honor Flight Chicago says, “It is the most tiring day you will ever spend. It is the most gratifying day you will ever spend.”
Honor Flight Chicago, though part of the Honor Flight Network, operates somewhat differently than most hubs in the network. They ask that most volunteers come from the DC area. This means that the majority of the 175 seats on each flight can be used by Veterans.
UPDATE, 2/26: This report now includes a link to the application form