Salute to Military 5K set as fundraiser for final Honor Flight
The (Biloxi, Miss.) Sun Herald
Local residents will have the chance to run in support of World War II veterans when the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight hosts its inaugural Salute to the Military 5K on Oct. 19.
Runners won't find hurdles in the form of barricades as the veterans did on the recent flight to Washington, but Honor Flight organizers are hoping the community comes out to help more veterans see the World War II memorial.
Honor Flight Vice-President Wayne Lennep said the group still needs about $15,000 to finish paying for the final flight on Nov. 5 and the reunion on Nov. 23.
On the final Honor Flight, 70 veterans will travel from Gulfport to D.C.
"We want the veterans to have the full Washington experience and to see the memorial in their honor," Lennep said. "This will be our final flight. I hope and pray that our veterans can enjoy a peaceful, reflective day like they deserve."
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has been named honorary race chair because of his support of Honor Flight.
"We've been involved in Honor Flight since its inception," Palazzo said. He said that because the group is always fundraising, it's appropriate to tie in this 5K with the Honor Flight.
"It just made sense that whatever proceeds we raise go toward the Honor Flight and the reunion," Palazzo said. "This is a great opportunity for the community to come out to support our military and our veterans for this final flight."
The 5K will take place at the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center on Hewes Avenue in Gulfport at 8 a.m. Oct. 19. Registration is $25; veterans, military retirees and active service members get a $5 discount.
On Oct. 2, 91 WWII veterans and their guardians flew from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport to view the memorial and other monuments, only to discover that many were blocked by barricades due to the federal government shutdown. Congressmen moved barricades from the entrance of the World War II Memorial so the veterans would have access.