Honor Flight readies for final flights of the season
PLATTSBURGH — North Country Honor Flight will wrap up the 2022 season with Flights 42 and 43 on Saturday.
“We got some big plans for this one so it will be a nice way to end the season,” North Country Honor Flight Executive Director Barrie Finnegan said.
The two chartered flights this weekend will bring 29 veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials in their honor. The flights will return to Plattsburgh around 8:15 p.m.
Thunder in the Burgh
As usual, the send-off ceremony will begin promptly at 7 a.m. sharp at the Veterans Park on the U.S. Oval but this one will have a little twist. All veterans from both flights will meet beforehand at Champlain Centre Mall to be transported to the Oval in one huge motorcade. The motorcade will leave the mall at approximately 6:10 a.m. arriving at the Oval at about 6:25 a.m., escorted by local law enforcement, fire trucks and close to 200 motorcycles.
Lloyd Provost, the motorcycle escort coordinator has put the motorcade together, known as “Thunder in the Burgh.”
“He’s been wanting to do this for some time and it is going to be quite a scene to see all these motorcycles and these veterans going through our streets,” Finnegan said.
Of the veterans on these flights, one of them is World War II veteran Frank Spendley. Spendley, of St. Albans, Vt., was a member of the famous 101st Airborne and jumped into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, to help liberate France.
“He’s a great guy and he’s seen it all,” Finnegan said.
Spendley will turn 100 on Oct. 22, but Finnegan said they will be celebrating his birthday this weekend on the trip to Washington.
“We aren’t waiting. We are going to honor him now.”
Also flying on Saturday will be four Blair brothers, Chester, Frederick, Larry, and Richard from the Cadyville/Saranac area. All four served in the military as did four other brothers of theirs who have since passed.
“They are going to be honoring their four brothers who have passed,” Finnegan said.
“Can you imagine, eight brothers from one family all having served. That family certainly did serve their country.”
Another good year
In all, there are 2 Korean War veterans, 2 Cold War veterans, one World War II veteran and 24 Vietnam War veterans on flights 42 and 43.
“We are so glad to have had another good year because we hear from so many people that these flights, for a lot of veterans, they change their lives,” Finnegan said. “Their families tell us that they are not the same, and are so much better after their flights and it is a great feeling to be able to help change someone’s life for the better.”
The return home flights are scheduled to arrive at 8:15 p.m. at the Oval. All parts of the day are free and open to the public, and residents are encouraged to come out to support the North Country veterans.