The event bills itself as a luncheon but, really, it's all about the power of flight.
Flight can fuel the dreams of kids who attend the lunch Saturday, May 3, at the DuPage Airport and imagine what it would be like to get on a plane, fly through the sky and touch down someplace else.
If you goWhat: DuPage Veterans Foundation fundraising lunch with veterans
Why: Proceeds will be donated to Honor Flight Chicago to fly veterans to Washington, D.C.
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3
Where: Calamos Hanger at DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive, West Chicago
Details: Lunch with veterans; World War II-era planes, vehicles and uniforms on display; Naperville Municipal Band and The Legacy Girls perform; raffles and silent auction
Cost: $30 in advance, $40 at the door for adults; $20 for children; free for World War II and Korean War veterans and for active duty military personnel in uniform
Info: (630) 614-4533 or dupageveteransfoundation.org
Flight can connect the hearts and minds of history and military buffs at the DuPage Veterans Foundation's luncheon with the experiences of veterans who flew and served around the World War II-era warbirds that will be on display.
Flight can even trigger the generosity of someone eager to help a good cause by bidding for the chance to fly in a restored World War II plane.
The proceeds from the silent auction -- including the flight experience -- and from the entire DuPage Veterans Foundation lunch will help send veterans on what could be the most powerful flights of their lives. The event benefits Honor Flight Chicago, which flies World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see World War II and military branch memorials and to take part in ceremonies that honor their service and the sacrifices of those who didn't make it home.
Started in 2012, the annual event already has raised more than $100,000 for Honor Flight Chicago. Organizers hope this year's lunch will generate at least $55,000 -- enough to fully fund an Honor Flight trip from Midway Airport to Dulles International and back, volunteer Christine Dettmann said.
The lunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., opens with a patriotic ceremony and includes a meal shared with attendees and veterans, raffles, a silent auction, entertainment and a display of World War II-era military items including aircraft.
Today, organizing committee member Wayne Fischer tells us more about DuPage Veterans Foundation's efforts to support Honor Flight Chicago. His comments were reviewed and echoed by foundation President Rich Jorgensen.
Q. What is your organization's mission?
A. To recognize special needs of our DuPage veterans and provide fundraising efforts to acknowledge our appreciation for all they have sacrificed for our freedom and safety.
Q. How do you work toward accomplishing that goal?
A. We hold an annual fundraiser at the DuPage Airport. We will add other fundraisers and aid veterans groups as we identify the need. This year it is on May 3. Leading up to that event countless hours are involved through our committee to raise donations prior to and during the event itself.
Q. Who do you serve?
A. Our primary focus is DuPage County, but we also reach out to many organizations and individuals who are enthused about supporting our event to raise funds to honor our World War II and Korean War Era Veterans.
Q. When and why did the organization start? How has it grown?
A. This organization was formed in late 2011 and early 2012. Its initial purpose was and continues to be to raise funds to support Honor Flight Chicago. As far as growth, we have raised $100,000 for Honor Flight Chicago through our 2012 and 2013 events.
Q. What kind of successes have you had?
A. Raising $100,000 and having many area veterans have the opportunity to see and be honored in Washington, D.C., is very special to all of us.
At these events, we have had more than 100 World War II veterans whom we honored for their service. To hear their stories and see their enthusiasm about their experience is something for everyone to appreciate.
Q. What challenges does the foundation face?
A. We need to reach a larger audience to let them know what we are doing and the benefit their donations bring to our veterans. As our World War II veterans pass, Honor Flight Chicago is also including our Korean War era veterans as the future of this program. Raising donations is the only way to ensure this honor is given to our veterans who are able to take the flight and experience their "day of honor."
Q. What do you wish the community at large knew about the organization?
A. We would like more people to understand how the donations work and the effect the trip has on our veterans. One only has to listen to our returning veterans from their "day of honor." We do not do this for our benefit, but the impact of what we do is very, very special to all of us.
We also need to inform Korean and World War II veterans that this event is in their honor and they are free to attend.
Q. How can readers get involved?
A. We generally have 30 to 40 adult volunteers help the day of the event in addition to Scouts, Sea Cadets and Air Patrol Cadets to help with our veterans.
We want folks to come and experience the event and certainly donate either personally or through business or service organizations they may be affiliated with.