Community steps up to honor Blount Co. veterans with Honor Flight

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 8:39 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Blount County community made a special effort to support their veterans Tuesday by sending them on an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C.

More than 80 veterans showed up at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport early Tuesday morning, talking amongst one another, pushing wheelchairs and helping with bags. They wore matching “Lone Eagle” T-shirts, commemorating the Honor Flight and what it stands for.

“Honor Flight started as a way to honor our nations heroes, but it has become so much more than that,” said Bobbie Bradley, COO of Honor Flight Network. “It’s an opportunity for veterans to have a shared experience with fellow veterans that allows them to heal hearts and celebrate their service with their community.”

“These guys are my family,” said Mansell Gilmore, US Airforce and US Army. “There’s a lot of my friends that have their name on that old black wall out there and I’m going to go pay my respects, if I can make it. Being around my family I feel stronger. I can do it.”

The Honor Flight Network’s sole mission is to transport America’s veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. The Blount County Honor Flight along with the Blount County County Memorial Museum and Historical Society raised $88,000 dollars to make this trip possible.

“For the people of Blount County to send us to Washington D.C. is an honor. There’s no words,” Mansell Gilmore said slowly, his face weathered and strong. His eyes holding back tears. “There’s no words.”

The veterans left at 6:30 a.m. and will return later tonight around 9:15 p.m.

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