APPLETON, Wis (WBAY) Calling all Korean War veterans after a major announcement from Appleton-based Old Glory Honor Flight.
A crowd of thousands at EAA AirVenture greets 115 Vietnam veterans on an Old Glory Honor Flight returning from Washington, DC (WBAY photo)
Fifty Korean War veterans from Northeast Wisconsin will embark on a journey of a lifetime next spring, a "Return to Korea."
After their historic Return to Vietnam earlier this year, Old Glory Honor Flight board members noticed something magical.
"We saw kind of the ripple effect of the healing process -- not only the vets themselves that were with us, but to their families and to the greater veteran community -- and it's just too important not to look into further opportunities," says Drew MacDonald, Old Glory Honor Flight President.
Thanks to a program in which the South Korean government helps subsidize veteran trips back to Korea, Old Glory plans to fly 50 veterans and a family member or friend who is a generation younger to serve as their guardian.
"Korean War vets are going to be 85-90 years old, maybe even above 90, so they're going to need extra care, and we're going to take steps to make sure they get that care so if they're willing and able to go through a trip like this we're going to make it happen," says MacDonald.
The 10-day trip will take place in mid-May.
Veterans will travel free of charge, while the guardians will pay $500.
To qualify, vets must have served in Korea between 1950 and 1954 or served in the Navy during that time off the Korean Peninsula.
MacDonald is asking for the community's help to notify veterans of this opportunity.
"We're active on Facebook, but I'll guarantee you we don't have to many Korean War vets in the community. Let them know this exists, help them apply, because if they don't have a computer you can help them do that, a group of veterans an opportunity that quite frankly probably none of them ever dreamed possible, so this is an important opportunity and with the cooperation of the South Korean government it's just too good to pass up," says MacDonald.
The application process is open between now and October 11, after which veterans will be selected in a random drawing.
CLICK HERE for applications.