QUINCY (WGEM) — The Great River Honor Flight (GRHF) Board of Directors announced Tuesday they will not schedule any flights in 2020 and will put all their energy into preparing for the 2021 season and a hopeful return to normal operations.
The board stated that plans for the GRHF's 11th year had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which has triggered several other issues. Among them are limited flight schedules, restrictions on the number of people, social distancing, schedules for DC memorials, etc.
“Our number one concern has always been on the safety of the veterans we honor on these missions,” says Carlos Fernandez, Chairman of the GRHF board. “While visiting the memorials has been a big part of these trips, so has the endless welcome and goodwill that the veterans receive from total strangers throughout their special day,” Fernandez added. The many restrictions and precautions, that are still very much in effect throughout the US due to the virus, impacts the way the Honor Flights can be scheduled. After carefully reviewing all options, the board felt it was in everyone’s best interest to allow time for the current situation to improve and to ensure that everything that is done, is done to maintain the safety of our veterans that we so greatly respect.
The board stated as with years past, the goal was for 6 missions in 2020, with the next trip being #58. The goal is to start looking at next year and to plan for a full slate of flights beginning with April 2021.
GRHF was started on Veterans Day 2009 with its first flight scheduled on April 13, 2010. Back then all the veterans were from World War II. That is the way it continued for several years until it was decided to expand to those veterans who had served during the Korean War. Since then we have also expanded to include veterans during the Vietnam War as well as those who served between those conflicts. We continue to increase the total number of local veterans who have flown to Washington DC for free thanks to the financial support of so many individuals, groups and businesses in the area.
To date GRHF, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,855 local Veterans to Washington D.C.
GRHF offers one-day trips to Washington, D.C. for these local heroes at no cost to them.
GRHF, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation established in October of 2009, was created solely to honor America’s veterans that live in our area for all they have sacrificed by providing, free of charge, transportation to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.