Free flights offered to WWII vets in Fayette

Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:54pm
By: John Munford

A volunteer group in Fayette County is hoping to re-enlist local World War II veterans.

This time, instead of going off to war, those veterans will be going on a free day-long trip to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Honor Flight Fayette is planning to fly the veterans on a day-long trip to the Capitol to visit the memorial. This Friday from 4-8 p.m., volunteers will be on hand at all Chick-fil-A locations in Fayette County to sign up local WWII veterans for the trip. Interested veterans are asked to bring a photo ID and a list of the medications they’re taking.

The veterans will be paired with family members who can assist them during the trip, organizers said. Those “escorts” will have to pay their own way at a cost of $300.

Plans are to have a doctor and EMT also on board the flight should any of the veterans experience a medical emergency, organizers said.

The Fayette branch is coming together largely through the efforts of organizers Gail Sparrow and Mark Buckner.

Sparrow, a recently retired history teacher, said she simply wants to give something back to the people who helped protect America’s freedom from both Nazi Germany and Japan during the war.

“It’s my time to say thank you for what they’ve done,” Sparrow said.

Although Sparrow’s father served during WWII in the Navy, he passed away years before the memorial was even planned, she said. Though he’d talk about his service when asked, it didn’t come up often, and he, like many veterans, was humble about his service.

“I think they kind of feel it was just their duty,” Sparrow said, noting that when these men put their lives on the line they were mere teenagers in many cases.

Now, those teenagers are well up in their twilight years, creating some of the urgency to honor them before they pass away. Organizers are unsure how many World War II veterans live in Fayette County and the surrounding area.

Sparrow said Honor Flight Fayette will not accept any money from the veterans for the program. Fund-raising in the community will cover the costs, and Sparrow said she feels confident Fayette is a very giving community and will help with the project.

The main goal right now is to get veterans signed up for the initial flight, Sparrow said.

Costs are not set in stone yet, as it is not clear if the group will charter a special plane or instead buy a large block of seats on a commercial flight, Sparrow said.

Sparrow is hoping the efforts will branch out and get attention in the entire metro Atlanta area to serve as many WWII veterans as possible.

Ever the history teacher, Sparrow, who taught at Flat Rock Middle School, is also hoping to recruit some of the veterans to volunteer to meet with students or make presentations to local schools.

The World War II veterans “protected my freedom and my way of life,” Sparrow said.

For more information on the program, visit and stay tuned to

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by wheeljc on Tue, 12/04/2007 - 7:57pm.

This is really a great initiative Mrs. Sparrow and Mr. Buckner had initiated, and is such a wonderful way of saying THANK YOU for those veterans of WWII who sacrificed so much for all of us. Know that this is one initiative that Fayette County will pounce on and make us all proud!!! WAY TO GO MRS. SPARROW AND MR. BUCKNER!!!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.