Mid-Michigan Honor Flight

P.O. Box 385

Mecosta, MI  49332

 

phone:  231.803-4255

 

email:  info@midmichiganhonorflight.com

website:  www.midmichiganhonorflight.com

 

 

                                                                                    

 

                                                                       

  

2017:  The Year in Review

 

As we wind down from our 2017 flying season, we wanted to thank all the people that support our mission and provide an update on our progress and accomplishments.  We are so grateful to the many, many people who contributed to our success year after year. We completed two successful flights in 2017, providing 123 deserving veterans a “Day to Remember”. Everything we do is because of the veterans, “It’s all about the Veteran.”

STATISTICS:  Since we started flying in 2014, our Hub has successfully completed 8 Missions taking 512 honorees to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial.  Each flight cost an average cost of $107,000.  We hope to continue flying two missions each year, taking deserving Michigan Veterans on a “Tour of Honor.”  YOU can help make that happen!

MAY 23, 2017 FLIGHT:  We took 64 Veterans from the Grand Rapids Airport to Washington, D.C. Ferris State University in Big Rapids hosted our flyers for the third time. We consider Ferris our “home” and they take great care of our flyers.  Their staff could not be more accommodating.  It was an honor to have President David Eisler speak to our Veterans at the dinner.   

 

We want to extend a big THANK YOU to all those who lined Perry Street in Big Rapids waving and cheering as the Ferris buses drove by on the way to the airport; our law enforcement and the Fire Departments, whose salutes on the overpasses on US 131 was an awesome sight for our honorees. The water canon salute at the airport was a very special honor for our flyers too. We appreciated the warm welcome home after our exciting day from all those who took the time to greet us at the Grand Rapids airport.  It was a special welcome home for our Vietnam Veterans this time around too.  It was a grand way for our flyers to feel appreciated from start to finish. 

 

 We want to especially thank:  Ferris State University for the housing accommodations & meals;  Ferris Transportation and Drivers for the coach buses; Grand Rapids Airport Staff and employees; Blue Water Technologies Group Inc.; Clare County VA (Paul Fetzer); Mancino’s; JR Supply/Patton Holdings/First Nation Group; Mecosta Community Foundation; Meijer; Coins With Pride; Leprino’s Foods; Alfie Sports Gear; Lowe’s; B and B Printing; Tee See Tees; Project Hero Hugs; New Hope Church quilters and cross makers; CL Quilters Group & Needles & News; Tootsie Roll; Mary K. Jones/Honor Stars; Simply Junkless/Jim Swoboda; Maya Assaf for singing and “Charlie” (our miniature therapy horse mascot) for greeting our flyers.

 

We also appreciate the volunteer time offered by many local groups and individuals:  GFWC Mecosta – Heart of the Lakes & GFWC Big Rapids; Canadian Lakes Association; Leprino’s; Lowe’s; Ice Mountain; Blue Star Mothers; American Legion/Jean Bennett; Ferris student volunteers; previous flyers who volunteered and all of the individual volunteers that help to make a day like no other for our flyers. 

Cost of the May flight was $105,097.62.

 

TOUR GUIDES:   We wanted you to know that each time we fly, we enlist the time and knowledge of some very key people in Washington DC.  Our Tour Guides are top notch and give up their entire day to be with us.  They want no monetary compensation, they just want to be with our honorees.  We sure appreciate them and they have become like family to us.  Thank you Jodie, Lauren, David and Laura!!  .

 

MAIL CALL:  Mail Call is the highlight of each trip for these deserving Veterans.  Please keep those letters and cards coming, we can always use them.  When we hear of a Veteran who cannot fly with us, we like to send them a packet of letters, cards and thank you notes for their service.  Families, schools, organizations and clubs can all contribute.  Please consider collecting letters for our veterans.  No letter or card should be larger than 8 ½ x 11, please no glitter or two-dimensional objects (i.e, macaroni glued to paper).  Other than that, let your heart speak for your appreciation.  Mail letters to our hub address: P.O. Box 385, Mecosta, MI  49332.​

 

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 FLIGHT:  We took 63 Veterans from the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City to Washington, D.C.  Lake Ann Camp & Retreat Center again hosted our flyers for the fourth time.  The cabins were nicely equipped with all the comforts of home.  The homemade cinnamon rolls were out of this world!  And the Moomers ice cream was a great finish to a wonderful dinner prepared by Chef Darrel.  Dick Lavanture brought out his military jeep to display at Lake Ann and set the mood. 

 

The volunteers who greeted our flyers, attended to their needs and were present for the sendoff and Welcome Home brought smiles to all of their faces.  Volunteer groups such as the Blue Star Mothers, GFWC, Jeanne Mc Millan and DAR, Larry Levengood & the Charlevoix Elks Club, Don Pond & the Elk Rapids Rotary, Patriot Guard Riders, Traverse City VFW, Clare County VA (Paul Fetzer); TC Veterans Coalition, Cherry Capital Airport employees; local law enforcement; the Fire Dept. & the water canon salute at the airport.  John Lefler - George Champlin – Julie C. – Sandy Urban – Bob & Deb Petersen – Don Hengesh - were a big part of the success of this mission.  Jack O’Malley (WTCM radio) was a guest speaker and Maya Assaf, again sang to our Veterans.  This was Maya’s farewell performance.  “Charlie” also helped deliver Mail Call by ‘pony express’. 

 

We want to especially thank:  the Biederman Foundation; Elk Rapids Rotary; Jay’s Sporting Goods; friends of Rick Deneweth; Dean Transportation; Continental Linen Service;  MSP Cadillac Post; MSP Houghton Lake Post; Leelanau Tribal Council; Veterans Cup Hockey; Charlevoix Elks Club; TC Veterans Coalition; local VFWs, American Legion and Amvets; and those others who financially sponsored this flight. 

Cost of the September flight was $109,162.35.

 

ADOPT A VET:  Do you want to be someone’s hero?  What a great way to say “thank you” to a Veteran for their service.  You don’t have to know one personally, just contact us and we will help you with the paperwork.  It costs $500 and we will gratefully send you a certificate indicating your participation. You can adopt a veteran in memory of someone or for a gift of appreciation. If interested, please feel free to contact us.

 

AMAZON SMILE:   We are registered with Amazon Smile and hope you will continue shopping there by using the link provided for us to get credit for qualified purchases.  It’s easy and doesn’t cost you anything!  All you do is shop on Amazon through AmazonSmile.   https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-5482612

 

KROGER PLUS:  We are also registered with Kroger Plus community rewards program.  We invite our supporters, friends and their families to obtain a Kroger Plus card from your local store, and then register online at www.krogercommunityrewards.com .   To designate your points to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, you will then need to additionally enter our NPO 25849.  Then shop normally and be sure to swipe your rewards card each time you shop!

and register, indicating that you’d like your credits to go to NPO 25849, Mid-Michigan Honor Flight. That’s all you have to do! Once and done. Then, each time you shop at a Kroger store, anywhere, have them swipe your rewards card number, and they will do all the work. Each quarter Kroger will send us a check! Tell your family and friends also. Can be in ANY state! WOW! The potential for supporting us this way, could have a big impact on our funding for future flights. You will be helping us continue our mission and we appreciate that so much.https://www.kroger.com/account/enrollCommunityRewardsNow

and register, indicating that you’d like your credits to go to NPO 25849, Mid-Michigan Honor Flight. That’s all you have to do! Once and done. Then, each time you shop at a Kroger store, anywhere, have them swipe your rewards card number, and they will do all the work. Each quarter Kroger will send us a check! Tell your family and friends also. Can be in ANY state! WOW! The potential for supporting us this way, could have a big impact on our funding for future flights. You will be helping us continue our mission and we appreciate that so much.

 

* * * * * * *

 

OUR THANKS:  To those advocates who helped us with our 2017 flight season, making phone calls, rounding up volunteers, attending an event, helping Veterans apply, getting the word out, talking with schools, attending a fundraising event, helping with letters for mail call, or financially sponsoring portions of our flights, our Board of Directors thank you sincerely.   It takes an army of generous individuals to make this all happen. We couldn’t do it without you.

 

We also want to thank those families who supported us through memorials in honor of their loved ones.

 

2017 Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Board of Directors:                    Official Photographers:   

Tricia Donegan                        Bob Sowden                                                                     Jim Swoboda                 

Diane Diehm                             Arlene Anderson-Vincent                                         John Russell                     

Elayne McCollum                    Gary Wendlowsky                                                        Cheryl Colley

Todd Purcell                               Mike Harvell                                                                              

Beau Vore                                   Bob Green                                                                Webmaster:  Jim Swoboda               

                                                                                                                             

Special Operations Team who flew in 2017: 

Allen Sutherby - Mike Hipp - Phil Rohloff - Rick Royston - Anne Sowden – Greg Trudell

John Ellsworth -  Ron Ray - Jill Ray - Amber Bowles - Jason Cornell - Linda Russell

 

Please follow us on Facebook and our website for upcoming events.

We love to see previous flyers at events and fundraisers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016:  The Year in Review

 

As we wind down from our THIRD flying season we wanted to send out an update on our progress and accomplishments.  We are so grateful to the many, many people who contributed to our success in 2016.  And, as 2017 approaches, please follow us on Facebook and our website for upcoming events.  Please consider lending your support.  We love to see previous flyers at events and fundraisers.  “It’s all about the Veteran.”

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

JUNE 8, 2016 FLIGHT:  We took 63 Veterans from the Lansing Capital Airport in Lansing to Washington, D.C.  Michigan State University hosted our flyers at Case Hall and what a welcome we had!  Sparty and Coach D’Antonio stopped by as well as Lou Ann Simons, President of MSU and Bill Beekman from the Board of Trustees.  We received a Challenge Coin from Coach D’Antonio and from President Simon.  The staff couldn’t have been more accommodating and the student involvement was very special.  The DeWitt Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers assisted us with the flight.  We appreciated the warm welcome Lansing residents provided to our honorees at the airport in the morning for the Send Off and when they came home.  It was a grand way for our flyers to feel appreciated.  And thank you Maya Assaf for singing and “Charlie” for helping with Mail Call. 

Cost of the June flight was $92,516.61.

 

OCTOBER 13, 2016 FLIGHT:  We took 61 Veterans from the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City to Washington, D.C.  Lake Ann Camp & Retreat Center again hosted our flyers for the third time.  The cabins were comfortably equipped with all the comforts of home.  The Dining Hall offered the opportunity for our flyers to connect and share stories while enjoying a gourmet meal together with their family and friends.  The volunteers who greeted them, attended to their needs and those that came out to the Cherry Capital airport for the Send off and Welcome Home brought smiles to all of their faces.  The 360 acre site at Lake Ann was a beautiful backdrop of fall color for everyone to enjoy.  The homemade cinnamon rolls were out of this world!  Volunteer groups such as the Blue Star Mothers, Charlevoix Elks Club, Elk Rapids Rotary, Patriot Guard Riders, Traverse City VFW, Veterans Coalition, were a big part of the success of this mission.  Jack O’Malley (WTCM radio) was a guest speaker and Maya Assaf, again sang to our Veterans.  Maya has done this now for 5 out of 6 of our flights.  “Charlie” also helped deliver Mail Call by ‘pony express.’  Cost of the October flight was $ 98,895.63.

 

NEW BOARD & STAFF MEMBERS:  We welcomed the addition of:  Mike Harvell, Board Member; Phil Rohloff & Nico Damsteegt – Flight Support.  We also took Ami Woods up on her offer to help us with social media.  She is a definite asset to our group.

 

MAIL CALL:  Mail Call is the highlight of each trip for these deserving Veterans.  Please keep those letters and cards coming.  Throughout the year, when we hear of a Veteran who cannot  fly with us, we like to send them a packet of letters, cards and thank you notes for their service.  They need to be thanked too!  Families, schools, organizations and clubs can all contribute.  You can collect letters and mail them to our Hub address.  No letter or card should be larger than 8 ½ x 11, no glitter and no two-dimensional (ie, macaroni glued to paper).  Other than that, let your heart speak for your appreciation. 

 

B AND B PRINTING:  We were blessed to connect with Bill Palmer who graciously offered his services and those of his design team headed by Amy, to “spruce up” our brochure and other materials.  They have really elevated us to a more polished presentation and we are so grateful to him and his talented staff for doing this for us, AT NO CHARGE.

 

PAY IT FORWARD:  If you were one of our flyers this year, or perhaps just learned about our mission, and would like to help a deserving Veteran take a “Tour of Honor” with us, consider a donation to help a deserving Veteran fly with us - it costs $500.  We will provide a certificate, documenting your generous gift, to your recipients.  Contact our office about our Pay It Forward program, and we will make it happen.  You can “Pay It Forward” in memory of someone who has passed or in honor of someone special in your life.  What a wonderfully unique gift!  And as the holidays approach, what better way to give from the heart. 

 

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECTS:  We were very fortunate that three young men sought us out to plan projects for their Eagle Scout recognition.  Tyler Hitner, Claude Ockert and David Werner worked very hard to implement their plans to support our mission and we are indebted to them.  It really warms our heart when young people see the value of their efforts and wish to promote our mission.

 

OTHER NEWS:  We are now a “.org”…  Our web address has been changed to

www.midmichiganhonorflight.org   You  should note the change to our new domain name.  Thank you Jim Swoboda, our webmaster, for taking care of this.

 

FUNDRAISERS:   Through the tireless efforts of many groups and organizations, we were the recipients of fundraising activities from:  GFWC – Mecosta – Heart of the Lakes in our town;  GFWC Madison Heights;  Michigan State Troopers Golf Outing;  North Central Area Credit Union (who entered us into a contest.  You can vote daily and find details on our Facebook page.); Jay’s Sporting Goods; TC “Veterans Cup” Hockey fundraiser; our Eagle Scouts; and the many venues we were invited to participate in.  We developed and are presenting our own fundraiser, “A Tour to Remember” which will take place on November 10, 2016 at Tullymore Golf Club in Stanwood, MI.  This event will kick start our fundraising for the 2017 flying season.  We also sincerely appreciate each and every donation from all over the state, whether from schools, or individuals or grateful previous flyers.  You are so appreciated and we couldn’t make this happen without each and every one of you.

 

SPONSORS:  The continued financial support of these companies and organizations helped make our 2016 flight season a reality: ICE MOUNTAIN/NESTLES WATERS – TOOTSIE ROLL COMPANY – MEIJER - ROLLING THUNDER, MICHIGAN CHAPTER 1 – GREATER FEDERATION OF WOMENS’S CLUBS STATEWIDE  – MECOSTA VFW – CHARLEVOIS ELKS –  FREEMONT FOUNDATION – LAKESIDE MOTOR SPORTS - MECOSTA COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION - IBM EMPLOYEES (United Way Campaign) – BLUE STAR MOTHERS STATEWIDE – GRAND TRAVERSE VETERANS COALITION – BIEDERMAN FOUNDATION - PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS – CANADIAN LAKES CRUSIERS CAR CLUB -  ELK RAPIDS ROTARY  –  CHERRYLAND ELECTRIC CO-OP – CANADIAN LAKES ASSOCIATION.  We welcomed some new sponsors as well this year:  Wolverine Electric Co-op; Demmer Corporation; McLaren-Greater Lansing; Mead & Hunt; Jay’s Sporting Goods; Cargill (Salt Division); Sweet 16 As Region of the Model A Restorers Club; Houghton Lake MSP and many, many more individual donors.  The full list of sponsors/donors can be found on our website.

 

OUR THANKS:  To those advocates who helped us with our 2016 flight season, making phone calls, rounding up other volunteers, attending a Send Off or Welcome Home event, helping Veterans apply, getting the word out, talking with schools, helping with letters for mail call, or financially sponsoring portions of our flights, our Board of Directors thanks you sincerely.   It takes an army of generous individuals to make this all happen.

 

We also want to thank those families who supported us through memorials remembering their loved one(s).

 

 

 

STATISTICS:  Since we started flying in 2014, our Hub has successfully completed 6 Missions taking 385 honorees to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials.  We hope to continue flying two missions each year, taking deserving Michigan Veterans on a “Tour of Honor.” 

 

 

 

Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Board of Directors:                           Flight Support Team:             Official Photographers:  

Tricia Donegan                         Bob Sowden                                     Allen Sutherby                         Jim Swoboda     

Diane Diehm                            Gary Wendlowsky                             Mike Harvell                             John Russell                           

Elayne McCollum                     Arlene Anderson-Vincent                  Phil Rohloff                              Cheryl Colley

Todd Purcell                             Mike Harvell                                      Rick Royston                           

Beau Vore                                Bob Green                                         Anne Sowden

                                                                                                           Mike Hipp

                                                                                                           Nico Damsteegt

                                                                                                                                                                      

Advisors:                                  Consultant:                                     Webmaster:                           Social Media Adminstrator:

Ron Snead                                 Loren Pickert                                    Jim Swoboda                         Ami Woods

John Rowland

(Ret. Brig.General)                   

​​Call us:

1-231.803-4255

​Find us: 

Mid-Michigan Honor Flight

P.O. Box 385

Mecosta, MI  49332

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