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6 - North Countryman • Editorial and Opinion

Opinion

May 28, 2011

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North Countryman Editorial

Patriot Flight: an important organization for our veterans

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or many World War II veterans, visiting the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. is high on their bucket list. And thanks to an organization called Patriot Flight, Inc. — based in New York’s capital region — some northern New York veterans have been able to cross this trip off their list. Opening in 2004, the memorial honors the 16 million U.S. men and women who served in the military, and the roughly 400,000 Americans who died during World War II. It is located between Constitution and Independence Avenues. And that’s a great tidbit to know, for those who have the time and money to travel to our nation’s capital, but many aging World War II vets are on fixed incomes and can’t afford the trip. And a lot of them have limited

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mobility, in wheelchairs, and have special health care needs, such as oxygen, that make the trip difficult. Enter Patriot Flight. This volunteer group flies World War II veterans from upstate New York to see the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. for free. Inspired by a program in Springfield, Ohio — Honor Flight Network, Inc. — Patriot Flight began transporting vets to the nation’s capital in 2008, joining more than 100 other groups throughout the U.S. affiliated with the Honor Flight Network, which was founded in 2005. In New York, there are similar groups in Long Island, Rochester and Buffalo. Plus, there is another group — Leatherstocking Honor Flight — that flies out of Albany. One local veteran — Kenneth Coonrod, of Willsboro — made the trip April 23. Coonrod enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1944 and served in the Pacific Theater, in places like Guam and Okinawa, until 1946. “It was far above what I ever expected it to be,” Coonrod said of the memo-

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Thanks to St. Mary’s supporters A Zumbathon was held on Sunday, May 15 at the Rainbow Wedding and Hall in Altona to benefit St. Mary’s Academy. Over 100 people were moving to the Latin-inspired international music and live percussionists as many sported T-shirts with the phrase “Shakin for a Cause but You Can’t Shake Our Faith” Faith that the school would remain open, continuing to provide jobs and quality education for the community. As with any fundraiser, this would not have been successful without the support and time from many people and local businesses. We would like to thank everyone who was involved and participated in this event. A special thank you goes out to Jane and Peck Sample for providing the location for the event, Adrian Coupal and Matt Coupal from Xtreme Sound DJ See LETTERS, continued on page 7

rial and the Patriot Flight trip. No Patriot Flight trips are currently scheduled. As funding becomes available through donations, they schedule more tours. When there is a trip, it only takes one day. The 15-hour tour starts at 6 a.m. in Latham. Vets fly a Southwest plane from Albany International Airport to Baltimore, where they hop on a bus and ride to Washington, D.C. for the day. After dinner, they re-trace their steps and make it back to Albany by 9 p.m. Special needs, such as wheelchairs, can be met. About 30 percent of the veterans who have taken trips so far have required wheelchairs, and the deluxe motorcoaches are equipped with wheelchair lifts. World War II veterans who are terminally ill are given special priority. Those who require oxygen must make arrangements ahead of time, as oxygen tanks are not allowed on flights. Patriot Flight is an important organization at an important time, and it is one with a limited life span, given the current mission of providing “our re-

maining World War II veterans the chance to personally view the memorial that was built to recognize their sacrifice to our nation.” We ask people to consider donating to Patriot Flight but not to wait too long. At an average age of 85, more than 1,200 World War II veterans are dying every day. Patriot Flight calls its mission “urgent,” and our time to say thank-you is quickly running out. For some veterans, the National World War II Memorial is the last thing they’d like to see before they die. Please, help make their dreams come true. For applications, donation forms and more information, call Patriot Flight at (518) 459-2857 ext. 331 or visit online at patriotflightinc.com. Learn more about Honor Flight at honorflight.org. This editorial is the collaborative opinion of a board comprised of Thom Randall, Fred Herbst, Lou Varricchio, Keith Lobdell, Jeremiah Papineau, Andy Flynn and John Gereau. Comments may be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com.

NC_05-28-2011_Edition  

Route 9 • Chazy, NY @ CCRS Ford will donate $20 to the school per test drive Clinton County Military Timeline to take place in Beekmantown t...

NC_05-28-2011_Edition  

Route 9 • Chazy, NY @ CCRS Ford will donate $20 to the school per test drive Clinton County Military Timeline to take place in Beekmantown t...