Honor Flight fund brought 28 veterans to WWII memorial

Following an article in the Mail Tribune early this year requesting donations to help send World War II vets to Washington, D.C., I made a contribution.

I never saw any follow-up article as to how many veterans were helped. I would appreciate any information you could give me regarding this matter.

— Pat S., Phoenix

Your contribution helped send 28 World War II veterans to D.C. in May to visit the World War II Memorial, Pat.

More than half of those vets were from our region, said Grants Pass resident Gail Yakopatz, president of Honor Flight of Oregon. The group is a wing of the nonprofit national Honor Flight group dedicated to flying aging veterans to D.C. to visit the memorial completed in 2004.

The local group had to raise about $40,000 for the spring trip, much of it coming in small contributions like yours, Pat.

"We had a Pearl Harbor survivor, veterans with Purple Hearts," said Yakopatz, whose father was a WWII veteran. "Of course, we want to honor all World War II veterans for what they did for us."

Since the flights began for local veterans in June of 2010, five flights have been made.

Another flight to honor the aging veterans is planned for April or May of 2013, she said, adding that at least 25 WWII veterans will be on the trip. The majority of them will be from Jackson and Josephine counties, she added.

The chapter has about 70 WWII veterans from southwest Oregon on its waiting list for the flights, including three women veterans, she said.

"In addition to contributions from individuals, we are looking for organizations and businesses to hold fundraisers for the next flight," Yakopatz said. "We need some help to make this happen."

Any individual, business or organization interested in contributing to Honor Flight can contact Yakopatz at 541-955-4544 or honorwwiivets@gmail.com. Instructions on how to contribute can also be found on the group's website, www.honorflightoforegon.org.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.

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