Funding Problems for Honor Flights

- AMARILLO -- A proud panhandle tradition is in danger of being grounded.

    The annual honor flight for veterans is having some fundraising trouble.

    "America Supports You Texas" (ASYT) hosts the honor flight every year.

    They take dozens of area hometown heroes to our nation's capitol to tour the monuments dedicated to their service.

    It's unknown why, but donations are down this year for the honor flight.

    This comes one year after ASYT hosted one of it's largest flights to date.

    The honor flight was originally set-up nationally to take World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorial dedicated to them.

    The program has become so popular, they've expanded it to include other veterans.

    They spend several days touring the different monuments and memorials and are given first class treatment.

    ASYT director Larry Lewis says the flights transform people.

    "There's something about that Vietnam wall. It's a slash in the dirt with granite with some names on it but,  there's something magical about that place.  Peoples lives are changed."  Lewis said.

    Lewis says in some cases veterans return home able to talk more freely about their war experiences than before they left.

    Last year, more than 140 veterans and guardians took the flight.  This year, that number will be scaled back to about 50.

    Lewis says while they are struggling with donations, this year's flight will definitely take place.

    It's scheduled for October 8 - 10.

    For most Honor Flights across the country, it's a one day trip.

    But, ASYT takes them on a three day trip, culminating with a tour of the capitol hosted by panhandle congressman Mac Thornberry.

    To learn more about America Supports You Texas click here.

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