Honor Flight golf outing raises money for veterans

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- More than 130 golfers turned out at the Wausau Country Club Monday morning to raise money for veterans to visit our nation's capitol. Since its founding ten years ago, Honor Flight has sent more than 3,000 veterans to tour memorials dedicated to them in Washington.

It costs about $500 to send one veteran and their family on the trip. The golf outing is an annual event in its ninth year. Golfers play alongside veterans with a chance to pay them to putt in their place.

"They fill the golf course up, have some great raffles, a great meal, and great camaraderie with people that you see here year after year at this very outing," Honor Flight President and Co-Founder Mike Thompson said.

And as one daughter of a veteran knows, the mission is easy to get behind, because it hits close to home.

"This is one of the easiest fundraisers that I’m involved with, because everyone either is related to a veteran, or they are a veteran, so it’s not hard to plan this,” said golf outing Chairperson JoAnn Draeger.

This outing is part of the effort to gift trips to veterans who returned home with no formal recognition.

"Veterans of those three wars—World War Two, Korea and Vietnam were for the most part—never properly welcomed home," Thompson said.

And for retired Marine Corps Colonel James Homan, going to D.C. was a chance for him to honor those who never got the chance to come home.

"It was special for me to go to the wall and point out the people that were special to me and why they were special as we went through that," he said.

Their best fundraiser so far raised $37,000, but organizers are hoping to top that this year. The next honor flight will take place on Labor Day.