WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOAY)- U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) proudly welcomed 23 Veterans from West Virginia to the nation’s capital for the ninth “Always Free Honor Flight.”
Senator Manchin provided each Veteran with a Congressional Record Statement to recognize their trip to Washington, D.C., which included a visit to the Arlington Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
“It is an honor to welcome 23 courageous West Virginia Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials made in their remembrance,” Senator Manchin said. “Without the constant commitment, sacrifice and service of our Veterans, we could not enjoy the freedom we do today. West Virginia is one of the most patriotic states and these West Virginia Veterans embody the Mountain State’s history and contributions made to safeguard America’s liberty. This special honor flight is just one way for us to honor and share our deepest gratitude for their service. I’d also like to thank my good friend Dreama Denver, Pam Coulbourne and the whole Always Free Honor Flight Network for making this trip possible for our Veterans.”
“Our veterans—like the ones I met yesterday—have sacrificed so much so we can enjoy the freedoms we cherish today,” Senator Capito said. “I was honored to welcome this group of proud West Virginia veterans to Washington today for their Honor Flight. As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I always treasure the opportunity to personally thank America’s heroes for their selfless service to our nation, and it was fitting that we could hold today’s event at a memorial that means so much to me and my family. Today and every day, I am so grateful for their service and will continue working to ensure that our servicemen and women, veterans, and their families are provided with the support and benefits they deserve.”
Of the Honor Flight Veterans attending, two served in World War II, two served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War, 14 served in the Vietnam War, two served in the Cold War, one served in the Gulf War and two served stateside. They were accompanied by 4 JROTC Cadets volunteering as guardians from southern West Virginia high schools, the President of the Denver Foundation and Little Buddy Radio, Dreama Denver, the “Always Free Honor Flight” organizer Pam Coulbourne, Vice President of “Always Free Honor Flight” and JROTC Instructor Sgt. Paul Dorsey, Board Member and Official Photographer of the Always Free Honor Flight and the Denver Foundation Steve Coleman, in addition to Veterans’ family members and medics.
The Honor Flight Network is a nationwide effort that raises funds to ensure that Veterans have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. free of cost to see the monuments that were built in their honor. In West Virginia, the “Always Free Honor Flight Network” was established thanks to the Denver Foundation and Little Buddy Radio, located in Princeton, West Virginia. These non-profit organizations were founded by Bob Denver, who played Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island,” and his wife Dreama, a West Virginia native.