$90K donation could fund honor flights for Nebraska's Korean War vets - Omaha.com
Published Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 3:53 am
$90K donation could fund honor flights for Nebraska's Korean War vets

Honor Flight photos: Oct. 29Oct. 30

***

WASHINGTON — An ongoing campaign to ferry Nebraska's Korean War veterans to the nation's capital got a big boost Thursday from a surprise $90,000 donation.

Bill and Evonne Williams previously helped organize Honor Flights that took more than 1,500 World War II veterans to see their memorial on the National Mall. Now the Williamses are working to provide the same experience to Korean War veterans, with the first group making its trip here last week.

An additional 400 veterans remain on the waiting list, but it had been unclear how long it would take to get them on flights, given that raising the money for last week's group hadn't been easy.

Then Bill Williams got a call Thursday from someone offering $90,000 to fund the next flight. The donor, who asked to remain unnamed, told Williams he had read World-Herald coverage of last week's trip and heard Williams discussing the project on the radio.

“He said, 'I just felt that it was done for the World War II veterans, and these Korea guys deserve to go,' ” Williams said.

That $90,000 would cover a typical flight of about 125 veterans, but with the sudden infusion of cash, organizers are now contemplating a larger-­scale airlift. For example, they could charter two 757s on the same day for $200,000. That would allow them to take about 300 veterans at once instead of doing a series of three or four flights that would happen over time, as money became available.

“It's just simpler that way,” Williams said of the all-at-once trip. “Instead of taking 125 at a shot, just load that baby up, and off we go and we're done.”

As always with Honor Flights, there is a pressing reason to move quickly: the advanced age of those veterans who would like to take the trip.

“They're not getting any younger, so the longer you wait, the more guys don't get to go,” Williams said. “That's why you have to hurry.”

Organizers will have to continue raising money beyond Thursday's large donation.
In raising the additional funds, Williams expects to encourage people to “adopt” a veteran by sponsoring that person's seat on the plane, at a cost of about $800.

Those interested in donating can do so at www.patrioticproductions.org.

Williams suggested that fundraising had proven more difficult for the Korean War veterans because that conflict didn't have the same profile as World War II. It has been called “the Forgotten War.”

Williams mentioned one veteran who talked of returning from Korea and being asked by people where he'd been. They hadn't realized he had been fighting in freezing weather far from home.

Given their past experience, the recognition of the Honor Flights is especially meaningful to the Korean War veterans.

Williams noted that a band and about 200 people waving flags and signs greeted last week's flight on its return to Eppley Airfield.

“Some of those guys were just in tears,” he said. “They just couldn't believe the attention.”

Contact the writer: Joseph Morton

joe.morton@owh.com    |  

Joe is The World-Herald's Washington, D.C., bureau, covering national political developments that matter most to Midlanders.

Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
Lori Jenkins, charged as accessory in 4 murders, waives speedy trial
Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss
Bluffs City Council approves dozens of new numbered street lights
National Law Enforcement Memorial Week set for May
Ted Cruz backs Pete Ricketts' campaign for governor
Omahan charged with 5th-offense DUI after street race causes rollover
2 blocks of Grover Street closed
Safety board report blames pilot error in 2013 crash that killed UNO student, passenger
Omaha man accused in shooting ordered held on $75,000 bail
2 men charged with conspiracy to distribute meth held on $1 million bail each
La Vista plans meeting on sales tax proposal, 84th Street redevelopment
6-mile stretch of Highway 75 is the road not taken
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Millard school board bans e-cigarettes from all district properties, events
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Breaking Brad: Kraft wiener recall is business opportunity for TD Ameritrade Park
Instead of returning the wieners, TD Ameritrade Park is calling them "cheese dogs" and charging double.
Breaking Brad: Photos with the Easter Bunny are so 2010
In a sign of the times, most kids ran out of patience waiting for a photo with the Easter Bunny at the mall, just snapped a selfie and went home.
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »