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  1. A Volunteer Day to Remember

    Julie Simpson of the Corporate Communications department shared details of her recent Volunteer Day experience. We’d like to hear how you spent your Amica Volunteer Day. Please send your stories and photos to amicanews@amica.com.

    My Volunteer Day on May 19 began with cheers, hugs and applause at Gate Z10 in Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.
    I was there to welcome 94 World War II veterans, who would tour the nation’s war memorials that day as part of the Honor Flight of Greater Dubuque. The flight included my father, Jerry Meylor of Marcus, Iowa, a Navy veteran, and my niece, Sharon Haselhoff of Iowa City. I’m pictured with him here.

    The group is a member of the national Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit organization that transports veterans (at no cost to veterans) to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials as a way to honor their service to America. Its top priority is honoring veterans from World War II, who are now in their 80s and 90s and dying at the rate of approximately 1,000 every day, according to Honor Flight organizers.

    When I arrived at Dulles early that morning, I joined about two dozen Honor Flight volunteers and military personnel who had come to the airport solely to greet and meet this flight of veterans. I was surprised to learn that many Honor Flight volunteers go to Dulles several times a week to give visiting veterans from across the country rousing welcomes and thanks for serving their country. These veterans didn’t expect such a warm reception, and many were brought to tears.

    On the day’s 18-hour agenda were stops at the World War II, Korean and Vietnam, Iwo Jima and Air Force memorial sites and the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. It was a long and emotionally charged day for everyone, but it also included many laughs, funny memories and great stories.

    In addition to the 94 veterans, some 75 volunteers from Iowa were also on the trip, along with many family members. Everyone was there to make sure veterans – many in wheelchairs or using walkers – had someone to share their experience with and to help them to and from the memorials.

    I am thankful that I could help honor these veterans and experience the day with my father – who, like so many young men of his time, was just 18 and a senior in high school when he was drafted in 1945.

    If you have a friend or family member who served in World War II, visit the Honor Flight Network website. You’ll also find information about state affiliate sites and application procedures.

  2. When I arrived at Dulles early that morning, I joined about two dozen Honor Flight volunteers and military personnel who had come to the airport solely to greet and meet this flight of veterans. I was surprised to learn that many Honor Flight volunteers go to Dulles several times a week to give visiting veterans from across the country rousing welcomes and thanks for serving their country. These veterans didn’t expect such a warm reception, and many were brought to tears.
    +1

  3. It’s been over a year since my experience with Honor Flight, and I still remember how amazing those volunteers were. They were totally committed to connecting with veterans they had never met in their lives. When my dad’s flight touched down and the first veterans walked in the door, I was as overwhelmed by tears as the men. In my mind’s eye they are still 18, 19 and 20, traveling away from home for the first time and trying to be cool and tough and “all that.” No different from the high school students I taught for so many years. Thank you for visiting and commenting — and for your service to veterans!

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