SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Midwest Honor Flight allows veterans to have the trip of a lifetime to the nation’s capital to see the memorials dedicated in their honor.
The organization has been sending veterans to Washington D.C. since 2017.
One person that’s been part of that mission since the beginning is Elsie Van Beek.
“I’ve been with the Honor Flight since 2017, since it started, as the “patriotic princess,” where I would hand out dog tags to veterans that came on the flight and welcome them home,” Elsie Honors, 14 years old, Elsie Van Beek said.
But she wanted to take that a step further. She started Elsie Honors.
As part of a bet with her brother, Aaron Van Beek, who is the president and CEO of the organization, she was tasked with raising money to help sponsor a flight by March 1st of this year.
“This was June of 2021, and I said to her, ‘you know what, how about this, it costs $50,000 to get naming rights to a flight, if you can raise that, I’ll let you go on a flight,'” president and CEO, Midwest Honor Flight, Aaron Van Beek said.
Since then she’s been fundraising in a number of ways.
“We did markets in the summer, we’ve also done bakes sales in Orange City, in Sioux Center we did the ladies expo, I also did Wreaths Across America in December,” Elsie Van Beek said.
“When it all started was that she wanted to sell cupcakes and I know my mom thought she was crazy for wanting to sell $50,000 worth of cupcakes, and so thankfully there’s been some other opportunities to come up, but majority has been cupcakes,” Aaron Van Beek said.
Now with less than a month to go, Elsie is only a couple thousand dollars short of that $50,000 goal.
“I am 95% of the way, so we’re close,” Elsie Van Beek said.
A mission to give veterans a trip they won’t forget.
“With the veterans and the guardians there it will be a more touching experience,” Elise Van Beek said.
Spring flights will be announced on March 1st. Aaron says Elsie could potentially be sponsoring Mission 15, as part of her 15th birthday. If you’d like to donate to Elsie Honors, click here.