WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Never Forgotten Honor Flight took 91 local veterans to Washington D.C. Monday.
Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm has been introducing you to some memorable characters she met. Today we hear from a group who never met before the trip. But the experience gave them a bond that will last.
"I've never been to Washington. It's going to be quite a thrill," says Carl Hollquist, from Pickerel.
Carl is a U.S. Army Veteran. He served in the Korean War.
"We were just on the move a lot. We were all over," says Carl.
His new friend Lyle is a Navy man. He served in WWII and even played a role in the recovery after the battle of Iwo Jima.
"I was on a cargo ship so about four days after the invasion we dropped cargo off," says Lyle Zurfluh, from Wisconsin Rapids.
The man in charge of helping Carl and Lyle around Washington D.C. is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Iraq.
"Every time I come down here Carl it's unbelievably gorgeous," says David Prokop as he pushes Carl's wheelchair along the Korean War Memorial wall.
The three men are separated by different wars, and a big age difference. But the shared experience of fighting in a war gives them a common ground unlike any other.
David suffered PTSD when he returned from Iraq. He found peace in meeting with other veterans going through the same thing. On this trip he found further therapy in Carl and Lyle.
"It was nice being able to come out here with two true warriors. I'm very humbled by what they've gone through. They've obviously gone before me," says David.
Many veterans still fight different kinds of battles: from David's PTSD, to Lyle, who lost his brother to the Korean War, and still remembers every detail.
"He was killed on the 16th of July in 1950. He was with the 19th Regiment of the 24th Division," says Lyle.
The Honor Flight gave Carl, Lyle and David a chance to be around others who made the same sacrifices, and live with similar memories.
"It feels pretty good to be in a large group like this," says Carl.
The bond formed on this trip won't stop at the arrivals gate at the welcome home ceremony.
"I'm hoping I get the chance to go out and say hi to them, and go down to Wisconsin Rapids and see Lyle and then head up to Pickerel Lake and hang out with Carl and his wife," says David.
THREE LAKES - One teenager decided to spend a day giving back to the Three Lakes community 18-year-old Maxwell Blanchard lives in L.A but always makes it back to Three Lakes during the summer.
Blanchard learned how to water ski and wakeboard in Three Lakes at five years old.
On Sunday he spent the day giving free water skiing and wakeboarding lessons.
"[To] get someone new out there to ski or at least get them attempting. It's always fun when you get the kids who are a little nervous out there and a little shaky, then they get out there and they love it," said Blanchard.
Blanchard said every year the water sports community chooses a day to give back and participate in "International Pass the Handle Day."
Kylee Swendson decided to help Blanchard this year with the lessons.
"It's great for everybody to get a chance to learn especially people who don't get the opportunity every day," said Swendson.
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