Monday, July 30, 2012
As Rex Yohn prepared to leave town, a phone call sent him hustling back to his childhood home.
"Dad's next-door neighbor to the south said, 'There's black smoke coming up,'" Yohn said.
He threw some clothes in a bag and drove Saturday from his home in Newton to where his 91-year-old father, George, lived.
The home was about 10 miles southeast of Greensburg.
"Basically I pulled in the driveway and there was a foundation and that was it," Rex Yohn said.
George had made it out safely. But just four days before the World War II veteran and his son Rex were to take the Honor Flight to Washington D.C., George didn't even have his wallet.
"After I found out dad was O.K. we just started trying to put together a list of what we were going to need to do to make this happen and the main thing was just getting his driver's license," Rex Yohn said.
Rex says he and his father quickly decided to start working their way down that list. No fire was going to keep them from seeing the memorial honoring George's service.
"We get pretty caught up in a lot of things but when you look back on what all the veterans and all the conflicts have done, it's important we don't lose track of that," Rex Yohn said.
Rex says it could also be a chance for George to heal from the fire and the war.
"With getting to do this and meet other veterans, I think he will open up a little bit more and we will learn more about what he's done," Rex Yohn said.
It could mean finding a piece of family history and a better understanding of life at a time when so much has been lost.
"If you have family members who have served, we want to thank them," Rex Yohn said. " But just spend as much time as you can with them."
Rex and George leave Tuesday morning from Kansas City.
They'll be joined on the trip by 27 other Kansas veterans, including one from Mulvane who will turn 100 on the flight.