Flight to Honor Polk missions fly groups of veterans to Washington D.C. for a day of touring memorials and monuments dedicated to their service.

With the successful completion of Flight to Honor Polk Mission 7, Polk County Veteran Council is wasting no time to prepare for next year’s mission to fly local military veterans to Washington D.C. to visit memorials honoring the service and sacrifices of them and their comrades.

The most recent flight to commemorate the service of participating veterans from World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars was successfully flown on April 26 and event organizers are already planning Mission 8 for April 2023.

The Flight to Honor Polk missions, which began in 2015, take off early in the morning from Lakeland Linder International Airport on a chartered flight and return on the night of that mission’s date. Any veteran can apply to participate and there is no cost for them to do so.

Applications for next year’s mission are now being accepted from veterans and guardians to accompany them. There is no charge for participating veterans, with priority for the flights given to those dealing with severe medical conditions first, followed by veterans who served in the Second World, Korean and Vietnam wars.

Veterans are accompanied during the day by designated guardians who volunteer to serve on the missions. Their purpose is to assist their veterans with the travel and memorial sightseeing activities. If a guardian applicant is chosen to participate, a $500 donation to defray the cost of the mission will be requested. Guardians are assigned to a veteran in the order that applications are received.

Roxie Hund, one of the mission organizers, said the Polk County-based flight missions are a local community effort to recognize and honor veterans.

“We are independent,” she wrote in an email. “We are totally funded and managed by donations and volunteers from the Central Florida community. Any veteran can apply to participate in a Flight to Honor Polk Mission.”

The Flight to Honor Polk missions are among many activities of the Polk County Veterans Council, which has been supporting veterans since 2003.

Applications for veterans and guardians can be downloaded at www.polkveteranscouncil.com and donations can be sent to Flight to Honor, P.O. Box 3911, Lakeland, FL 33802. You can also learn more about the missions by visiting Flight to Honor on Facebook.

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Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.