Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Local veterans take the Honor Flight: Meet AndySubmitted: 09/10/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ninety one local veterans took the trip of a lifetime to the nation's capitol yesterday. The Never Forgotten Honor Flight made its thirteenth trip to Washington D.C.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm got to go with them. The veterans shared their stories and wisdom with her-- and perhaps most memorably-- they shared their experiences yesterday.

We'd like to share those with you this week. Tonight, meet Andy.

"Doing a lot of tears, I'll tell you. Because I'm proud of those guys. I don't care how much we served, or how much we suffered; they paid the absolute price," says Andy DeFelice, from Nekoosa.

Andy served with the U.S. Army in the 60's. Normally, that would put him lower on the list-- The Never Forgotten Honor Flight takes the oldest veterans to Washington D.C. first. But Andy is one of three special veterans on the trip.

"You know, I've been a sick man. It's part of the reason I'm here, because I'm a very sick man with Leukemia and Prostate Cancer, and no stomach," says Andy.

Andy's one of three terminally ill Vietnam era vets along for this trip. It's the war he identifies with most, though he served mostly in Germany through the start of Vietnam. Even so, there was no shortage of action in his service.

"We had a great opportunity with "Operation Big Lift", when they airlifted all those troops over on maneuvers," says Andy.

He regrets not keeping in touch with those Army buddies. But that makes this trip with 90 other veterans all the more special.

"Once you're in the service you're in a brotherhood you'll never, ever loose. That's just the way it is. I don't care if you're Army, Navy, Marines or what. You're a brotherhood. That's what I loved about it and I still do," says Andy.

Andy saw the trip as an opportunity to pay tribute to people who died in battle. He couldn't believe anyone would want to honor his service. But his arrival in Washington proved him wrong.

Forty eight years after he left the Army, Andy got to see the memorial built to honor his generation of service men and women. What struck him most was seeing all the names of those who were lost.

"Sadness and shock of all these lives. It's just a waste... a waste," says Andy.

Like many veterans, some memories from war time still follow him. But what haunts him is how other soldiers were affected.

"The way those guys were treated when they came back from Nam; I'll never forget that. Because when you serve, you serve your country. And that's what those guys did. That's the sad part. I don't know, words can't express the way I feel about these guys. All of these guys. And this trip and what everybody's done for us," says Andy.

Seeing the memorial makes him feel like they're finally being treated properly.

"It's time. It's time for all of those troops. God bless them," says Andy.

But the Honor Flight folks didn't let Andy get away without his own fair share of being honored. When they got back from the trip he and his 90 brothers-in-arms got the hero's welcome many veterans didn't get all those years ago.

Tomorrow night we'll go along with the veterans to the World War Two memorial. It was the last of the major wars to get a memorial in D.C. You'll get to meet Joe, from Tomahawk. He'll tell us why he joined his four brothers in the war, even though he didn't have to.



Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

CRANDON - The first annual Legionnaire Mud Challenge made its way to Crandon Saturday.

The International Off-Road Raceway welcomed nearly 200 participants ready to get down and dirty.

Men and women of all ages were brought together by the desire to work up a sweat.

"There's not a lot of opportunities like this in the northwoods, so it's always great to see one pop up," said Justin Lund.

He's an experienced obstacle course athlete and came in first in the men's 10k.

And for the women, Sheila Reynolds also took first place.
 
"It's fun and then you get other people running and you're encouraging them along in a way. It's just a great atmosphere," said Reynolds.

Athletes participating in the mud challenge had the option of running as an individual or on a team. When registering, they chose between the 5k or 10k.

Not only are these athletes getting all muddy as they're going through the race, they also have to climb over obstacles like these barrels of hay.

Some of the obstacles included a tire wall, slip n' slide, and muddy wet puddles to get through.

"I talked to a lot of the runners before we went and they said that the obstacles were tough and they really liked the course," said Beaver, one of four runners on a team.

Beaver and The Boys completed the course with only a few setbacks along the way.

"I lost my shoe in the middle of it and had to go back and find it," he said.

Athletes had to get up and over more than 15 obstacles throughout the race.

All the money raised will go to the Northwoods United Way and American Cancer Society.

The second annual Legionnaire Mud Challenge will take place next year.

+ Read More

MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification in November's election pending an appeal.

In Milwaukee this week, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued a preliminary injunction allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explaining why they couldn't get the identification.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Emergency responders save lives and build trust in the community.

And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member of that team after swearing in a new officer Friday morning.

+ Read More

Play Video

WINCHESTER - Just a short walk from Kristin Cibelli's parents' deck stand--or rather lie--uprooted trees and twisted fences.

"I've never seen any damage like that in the 48 years I've been coming up here," Cibelli said.

Cibelli woke up to Thursday morning's heavy rains and winds around 5:30 a.m.  The storm finally passed over the Winchester area and the family went out to look over the damage.

"Adrenaline definitely was flowing," Cibelli said.

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has appointed attorney Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Walker's spokesman Tom Everson told The Associated Press on Friday that the governor had decided to name Kelly to the seven-member court.

Kelly will replace retiring Justice David Prosser. His appointment won't change the court's 5-2 conservative majority, however.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - We finally did it. We hit 90 degrees Thursday, July 21st, for the first time in almost three years.

+ Read More

Play Video

CRYSTAL FALLS, L'ANSE - Hunters, biologists, and wildlife watchers worry about the low deer population in northern Wisconsin.

But in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the situation is even worse.

Wildlife biologists say nearly every single fawn died after the harsh winters of 2012 and 2013, further hurting a struggling herd. In fact, the population has been on the decline since 1995.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here