KNOXVILLE—When the HonorAir Knoxville flight landed in Knoxville Wednesday evening it successfully completed its 27th flight taking over 3,600 East Tennessee veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built to honor their sacrifices.
Four Cocke County veterans were on Wednesday’s trip to the nation’s capitol. William McMahan, William Widmann, Deane Smith and Terry Davis took the day trip to visit the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials.
HonorAir Knoxville was established and is presented by Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedo. Covenant Health has been a major sponsor of each of the flights taken to date.
The program is dedicated to taking as many East Tennessee World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans as possible on this special trip. The one-day, all expense paid trip includes a chartered flight and tours of the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Marine and Air Force Memorials.
Scouts from the Smoky Mountain Council were on hand to greet veterans as they arrived at the airport in the morning. After proceeding through a military Honor Guard from the Knoxville Military Entrance Processing Station, the veterans received a send-off at McGhee Tyson Airport at which Mayors Madeline Rogero and Glenn Jacobs participated.
Former University of Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers served as an escort on the flight. While the group was in Washington D.C. they laid a wreath at the Marine Memorial honoring Medal of Honor recipient Karl Taylor, brother of Walter Taylor a veteran on the flight.
“Over the years the program has become a community event. Multiple civic groups, military organizations, hospitals, city and county government employees, area businesses and private citizens have stepped forward to be a part of HonorAir In addition, over a thousand people come to the airport to welcome the veterans home after each flight,” said Eddie Mannis, President of Prestige Cleaners and Prestige Tuxedo and Founder and Chairman of HonorAir.
“Our partnership with the Smoky Mountain Air Show and the generosity of many businesses, organizations and individuals have made it possible to continue honoring the contributions veterans have made to ensuring our freedoms.” said Mannis. “However, the program costs about $300,000 annually. Its future depends heavily on the support of the community”
HonorAir is a non-profit organization so donations are tax deductible. Prestige provides all administrative support so every dollar donated is applied directly to the cost of the flight.
The next HonorAir flight is scheduled for October 2, 2019. Any World War II, Korean War or Vietnam War veteran interested in taking a future HonorAir Knoxville flight should apply at HonorAirKnoxville.com.