Flight of Champions

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) A local Pearl Harbor survivor helps announce a special Honor Flight planned for next year.

2018 marks Brown County's 200th anniversary, and the year-long celebration will culminate with a "Flight of Champions".

Inside the Lambeau Field atrium, the plan to honor area veterans came to light.

"It's something we've been wanting to do for a long time, and with the county's anniversary coming up we felt it was fitting because Brown County, for those who don't know, is actually named after a war hero of 1812, General Jacob Brown," says Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

On November 1, 2018, the Flight of Champions will depart Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport for Washington D.C.

Several former Packers will serve as guardians for the 80 veterans on board.

"We have a long, long, long history and connection with both the military and veterans groups and really any time we can support a veteran cause or veteran programs we're happy to do so," says Packers President Mark Murphy.

Managing the flight will be the experts with Appleton-based Old Glory Honor Flight, one of the most successful Honor Flight hubs in the country with 43 missions completed.

"We've transported more than 4,000 veterans from Northeast Wisconsin out to see their memorials in Washington, DC. So when we got the opportunity to pair up with Brown County and the Green Bay Packers to work with this Flight of Champions, we jumped at it," says Drew MacDonald, Old Glory Honor Flight president.

For those who've been on Honor Flights, like Pearl Harbor survivor Firman Balza, it's a tribute every veteran should experience.

"What these folks have put together are really sincere about it. It isn't something on the surface, I mean it's deep within," says Balza.

Details on raising funds for the flight and veteran applications will be announced in the coming months.

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