Golf tournament helps send 75 veterans to DC

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Cloudy skies and a drizzly morning didn't stop Wichitans from honoring heroes Monday morning.

Dozens of people gathered at Willowbend Golf Club for the second annual Kansas Honor Flight golf tournament -- the organization's biggest event of the year.

"We're out here today, raising money to send veterans back to see their monument. It takes $700 per veteran," said John Combs, chair of the Honor Flight Golf Committee.

The tournament will take the group one step closer to an annual fundraising goal of nearly $190,000 -- enough to send 10 planes worth of veterans to Washington, D.C. The group expects that this fundraiser will help pay for 75 veteran's flights.

"The Korean and Vietnam-era guys, they never had a homecoming after their conflicts," Combs, a Vietnam-era veteran, said. "The World War II guys, we all recognize that they were a great generation, the sacrifices they made for this country and for the world. And, it's just a privilege to be a part of an organization that wants to honor the men and women who fought for this country and believed enough in it to join the military, sometimes in perilous times."

The trips can be quite emotional.

"When I go up to these folks and tell them it's your turn now to go on the honor flight. They will break down right in front of me and start crying," said Herb Duncan.

This fall, Duncan, a Vietnam War veteran, will get to go on his first Honor Flight to see the memorials in the nation's capitol. He's anxious for his trip, but more so for his fellow service men and women.

"That is where we're going to give our Korean War veterans their welcome home that they richly deserve," he said. "The mental attitude of these Korean War veterans and Vietnam War veterans. What we're trying to do, we're trying to heal that process."

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