HALL COUNTY — The Hall County Hero Flight Association is inviting the public to welcome 76 veterans back on Wednesday to the Central Nebraska Regional Airport near Grand Island.
A handful of Tribland-area veterans are participating in the trip to Washington, D.C., Monday through Wednesday. There are four veterans from Adams County — two of whom served during the Korean War and two during the Vietnam War. A World War II veteran from Webster County also is attending. The Hall County Hero Flight Association isn’t providing the names of participants.
Wednesday’s program begins at 5:30 p.m
Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, adjutant general for the Nebraska National Guard, is the featured speaker.
The Rev. Luke Biggs, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Island, will give the invocation. Willie Skala, Hall County Hero Flight founder, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Other speakers include Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele and Pam Lancaster, chairwoman of the Hall County Board of Supervisors and a member of the Hall County Hero Flight Association.
The Hall County Hero Flight Association was funded through monthly hamburger feeds in Hall County, a veterans appreciation banquet and private donations.
Including accompanying family members, a total of 165 people are participating in the trip.
Don Shuda, chairman of the Hall County Hero Flight Association, said when family members accompany veterans on trips like this the veteran shares more of the experience with that family member and the family member comes to appreciate the veteran more.
Veterans come from 15 other Nebraska counties besides Hall County. One veteran from Kansas and another from California also are participating.
Shuda said public recognition during Wednesday’s program means a lot to the veterans.
“The World War II vets, of course, were actually the heroes of our country, as we know,” he said. “You get down to the Korean and Vietnam veterans and they were kind of the forgotten veterans. The veterans came home, they didn’t have a big parade. They were unrecognized for their service. This is just another way of thanking them, appreciating them and letting the community and the veterans know how much they were appreciated for their service to this country.”