Loading

9°F

11°F

14°F

10°F

11°F

11°F

12°F

14°F

8°F

12°F

10°F

11°F
NEWS STORIES

Making the Honor Flight happenSubmitted: 09/13/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Play Video

WASHINGTON, D.C. - How do you get 91 aging veterans -- 61 of them in wheelchairs -- to Washington D.C. and back in one day? That's what the Honor Flight did Monday.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm went along. Today, she takes a look at how this massive project got started, and the people who make it happen.

"They went back to work on their tractors, and in the factories, and the post office and made this country what it is today. So the "greatest generation" is not overrated by any stretch of the imagination. They've earned my undying gratitude," says Mike Thompson, Co-Founder of the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.

The "greatest generation"... many of us know them as our fathers; our grandfathers. The Honor Flight began because Washington D.C. finally had a WWII memorial. But many veterans from that war are getting too old to travel easily.

Mike Thompson and Jim Campbell started the Northern Wisconsin chapter. But they knew they were fighting time, so they started big.

"We knew the youngest WWII veteran was 82 years old. So without a nickel to our name we decided we needed $80,000 to fly. And at a sprinters pace we started the marathon to fly in five months," says Mike.

Thirteen trips later nearly 1,200 local veterans have gotten to see the memorials built in their honor. Many of those veterans have substantial health needs. But medical volunteers make it possible for them to go too.

"I've got to watch over these guys. Somehow they got old on us and so some of them aren't doing so well. So I spend a lot of time trying to make sure they're having an OK day. Managing oxygen, managing diabetes, you know, whatever we need to do," says Dr. Ryan Gossett, a volunteer medic who's been on every flight since it began.

It's a long day. It wouldn't happen without the scores of volunteers that help see the group off and welcome them home.

"It's really kind of thrilling to see these vets and the volunteers. I think giving back is very important. So that's why I volunteer, because I didn't go to war. But I'm here because they did," says Ann Lucas, a Volunteer from Wausau.

Many veterans resist going on the trip at first. Some don't feel like they played a big enough role in the war they were in.

"Whether it's the guys that were driving up on the beaches, or the guys delivering mail, they all served a role. And we try to help them appreciate that it's an entire system that needed to exist for the war effort," says Ryan.

Honoring that effort, however big or small, is the point of the honor flight. Anyone who didn't get the "thank you" and the "welcome home" they deserved will finally get one-- even if it is more than 60 years later.

Ryan remembers one vet who didn't even want to go home, "...he finally said, 'You know as soon as I go on that bus, I go back home and I'm the old guy that lives down the street. Today I'm a hero'. So that's what this is all about."

Mike remembers a vet from one of the first flights, "This veteran said, 'You know I got of that air plane and if I live to be 100 years old I'll never forget the sights and the sounds of that night'. He said, 'I feel like I won the war all by myself'."



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





 IN OTHER NEWS
Frederick Place needs your help during the winter monthsSubmitted: 11/25/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - It may be winter but Frederick Place in Rhinelander still has many empty beds.

The Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing provides emergency temporary housing for area counties.

+ Read More
Students donate 2,000 pounds of food, get to dye teachers' hairSubmitted: 11/25/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Teachers at one Northwoods school wanted to encourage their students to give back to the community in time for Thanksgiving. They did that by offering up their hair.

Students at Zion Lutheran School in Rhinelander got to see two of their teachers dye their hair some of the colors of the rainbow on Monday. That's because students donated 2,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.

Two students and a teacher also used the occasion to cut their hair for Locks of Love.

+ Read More
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/25/2014

- With only one month left until Christmas, many people will be heading to stores to shop. The busiest shopping days of the year start this week. Some of the stores in Wausau's Center Mall open as early as 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. We talk with the mall's manager to see what they're expecting for holiday shopping.

- Plus, teachers at one Northwoods school wanted to encourage their students to give back to the community in time for Thanksgiving. They did that by offering up their hair. Students at Zion Lutheran School in Rhinelander got to see two of their teachers dye their hair some of the colors of the rainbow today. That's because students donated 2,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More
Ice skaters dedicate their lives to become talented skatersSubmitted: 11/25/2014

MINOCQUA - It takes a lot of perseverance to become a talented ice skater.

Between long practices and competing, ice skaters might not have much free time.

Danielle Wolosek has been skating since she was four.

"To be good, you have to like pretty much dedicate your life," says Danielle.

That dedication sometime means a lot of time driving.

Danielle and her sister Tessa travel from Wisconsin Rapids to the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena in Minocqua every week.

+ Read More
Newswatch 12 reports: Teen birth rate drops in the United States, still higher than other countries; Sexual education could decrease rate even moreSubmitted: 11/25/2014

Play Video

WISCONSIN - Teen birth rates dropped significantly across the country in the past few years.

Despite the decline, the United States still has the highest teen birth rate compared to other developed countries.

There are many reasons the rate is going down, and there could be many explanations to why the U.S. is behind other countries.

Education could decrease the rate even more.

That could prevent more people from having to go through the difficulties of being a teen parent.

+ Read More
Torgerson pleads not guilty for murder & disappearance of Stephanie Low; more information about informants Submitted: 11/25/2014

Play Video

WAUSAU - The case against a Wausau man facing murder charges will move forward. Thirty-five-year-old Kristopher Torgerson pled not guilty in court during his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Torgerson didn't admit to the murder in September, but he led police to Stephanie Low's burial site in the woods of Forest County. She had been missing for nearly four years.

Torgerson faces charges of intentional homicide, armed robbery, and hiding a body related to Low's disappearance and death.

+ Read More
Holiday Shopping- Why some stores open on ThanksgivingSubmitted: 11/25/2014

Play Video

WAUSAU - Thousands of holiday shoppers will head to stores and businesses this week.

This Friday is Black Friday and lots of people want to get to stores early for the best holiday deals.

But some businesses are opening a little earlier.

Almost 30 stores at Wausau Center Mall will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here