By Rene Ray De La Cruz
VICTORVILLE — In a partnership with Honor Flight – Inland Empire, one local city is working to help veterans travel to Washington, D.C. to visit various war memorials.
The City of Victorville will host a community workshop at City Hall with Honor Flight IE representatives to showcase opportunities for local veterans to visit the memorials designated to honor their heroism, city spokeswoman Sue Jones said.
Honor Flights provide roundtrip, all-expenses-paid tours to Washington, D.C. for military veterans as a way to honor their service to this country. The Honor Flight network has made it possible for over 150,000 veterans to visit the nation’s capital.
Apple Valley resident and Navy veteran Ted Belden, 91, who was part of last year’s Honor Flight, will also discuss his trip during the workshop.
Marine Corps and Air Force veteran Hugh Kidd, who has been on the Honor Flight waiting list for nearly four years, was recently notified that he will be able to participate in a September Honor Flight.
“I was beyond elated when Honor Flight – Inland Empire President Marva X called and told me that I was going to Washington, D.C.,” said Kidd, 89, who fought in Korea and Vietnam, and flew over 106 combat missions over Laos and Vietnam. “To tell you the truth, I thought I was never going to make that trip.”
Not having visited Washington D.C. since the 1950s, Kidd said he’s looking forward to visiting as many memorials as possible, including the Marine Corps, Air Force and Vietnam Veterans memorials.
“I really want to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall,” said Kidd, who lives in Apple Valley. “I was the master of ceremonies when the Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall came to Hesperia. If the mobile wall was powerful, I can only imagine what the wall in Washington, D.C. will be like.”
Other High Desert veterans joining Kidd on the flight include Irvin Kettler Jr., Army, Anthony LaCivita, Air Force and Fred Romero, Navy.
After being selected for the trip, Kidd began talking to Marva X and Jones about “spreading the news” to other local veterans about the opportunity to apply for an honor flight.
“After we chatted, Sue Jones took the lead in organizing the workshop,” Kidd said. “We need more people like Sue in the High Desert.”
“Since its creation in 2010, Honor Flight- Inland Empire has escorted over 300 veterans to Washington, D.C,” Marva X said. “Those veterans came from an area of Southern California that stretches from Barstow to Temecula and Pacific Ocean to Palm Springs.”
This Honor Flight workshop is scheduled at 6 p.m. June 20 in Conference Room D at Victorville City Hall, 14343 Civic Dr. Information regarding Honor Flight Inland Empire and the application process can be found at http://www.honorflightie.org.
Reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com, Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz