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Tue, Sept. 17

Donor pays for 30 WWII veterans on Honor Flight

An anonymous donor and member of the Yavapai Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has given $30,000 to provide the opportunity for 30 World War II veterans to fly to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII memorial.

Five DAR members will join the flight, including Dorothy Costanos. "The member said, 'Maybe I'll donate for 10 veterans to go,' Then she talked to Susan (Howe) and said, 'We're going to do the whole airplane!'" Cosantos said. "We do this because the veterans are so important to us. I think the Honor Flight is the ultimate gift to them."

The next flight leaves Phoenix on Tuesday, April 15, for three days and two nights.

Geri and Bob Beaver, Prescott Valley residents, were on an Honor Flight this past month. Geri served in the Women's Army Corps in the Philippines where she met Bob, an Army veteran. She was the only female veteran on the flight.

"It's the best thing. Get anybody you know to go who can go," she said.

Bob, 90, speaking through tears, said he hopes more veterans get a chance to experience an Honor Flight.

"When we left here, we got a nice send off. We walked through the airport and people were clapping and cheering," he said. "When we got to Baltimore, they had all these GIs, from all services, in uniform. It's hard to put into words."

Geri, celebrating her 92nd birthday today, said, "You just have to see it."

Susan Howe, Honor Flight hub coordinator, said the organization is in 43 states represented by 145 hubs, and most people hear about it through word of mouth, radio or newspapers stories. One veteran in a Phoenix retirement community went door to door and found 56 WWII veterans, many of whom ended up taking an Honor Flight.

Since 2005, about 181,000 veterans have flown to Washington, D.C., at no cost to them. The average age is 91. Each flight also includes 26 guardians who accompany the 30 veterans at their own expense. The cost for veterans is $900 and covers the flight, meals, bus, and hotel.

For more information about Honor Flight Arizona, visit honorflightaz.org, or call 928-377-1020.

For more information on the Yavapai Chapter of DAR, call 928-772-0814.

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