FREEDOM FLIGHT: More Money Needed

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More veterans will head to Washington D.C. this fall to see the memorials built to recognize their service. Volunteers have been planning the second Story County Freedom Flight for months. But, organizers still need something before the group can take off.

Many veterans look forward to seeing the memorials built in honor of their service and sacrifice. Korean War Veteran Harold Brinkman says,  "I have a daughter in the area, so I've seen the monuments several times."

But, experiencing the moment with fellow Iowa veterans makes it even more memorable. So, he signed up for the 2nd Story County Freedom Flight. He says, "I have other friends that are going on this flight. 'Come on Brinkman go with us,' so I decided to go."

He’ll travel with 150 other Story County Vets from three service eras: Korea, Vietnam and World War II. Veteran Fred Bunce says, "Worked the general hospital. I was in charge of the central supply in the surgical rooms, and got packets all ready for surgery."

The first Story County Freedom Flight took off last fall, with more wanting to go. So, a group of 25 volunteers started raising money to get the second flight off the ground. Luke Jensen with the Story County Veterans Affairs says, "It takes a while to raise that much funds. It's about $95,000 to include everything, the buses, the flights, the meals, the coordination, logistics."

The Story County Freedom Flight takes off from the Des Moines International Airport early the morning of October 1st. But, something is missing before it can take flight. Jensen says, "We're still short this year about $25,000, so still working at it."

They're raising money with events like a motorcycle ride on July 20th, and by selling merchandise like hats and shirts. All so the veterans can see the memorials at no cost to them.  Jensen says, "A lot of the veterans that we take probably wouldn't do this trip without this program in place. Some of them, whether it be finances or not wanting to ask for help to get out there."

Mr. Brinkman says, "I'm happy to be able to go with all these other vets. They've really done a duty for their country."

Click here for information on how to donate. Organizers want to raise the rest of the money by September so they can use the rest of the time to focus on logistics.