SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After transporting 165 local Veterans to Washington, D.C. this spring to visit the memorials dedicated to their service, Midwest Honor Flight is honoring all Veterans here at home.
Midwest Honor Flight is set to host its second annual Honor Ride.
“It’s not tied into any poker runs, it’s not tied into stopping at multiple places, our focus on the Honor Ride is to simply do that, honor our Veterans, those with us and those who have since departed,” Midwest Honor Flight President Aaron Van Beek said.
104 people participated in last year’s inaugural event, each paying tribute to at least one Veteran. Midwest Honor Flight President Aaron Van Beek is riding in honor of his three great grandfathers who served in World War II.
“None of them ever got the chance to see their memorials. Two of them in fact passed before there was even talk of the memorial being dedicated, so I’ll be riding in honor of them this Sunday,” Aaron Van Beek said.
“I have two grandfathers that served honorably in World War II, one in the Army Air Corps and one in the United States Army,” Honor Ride volunteer Chris Van Beek said.
Chris Van Beek is Aaron’s mom and an Honor Ride volunteer.
“They both passed away before their memorials were built in Washington, D.C., so the purpose for me is to ride in their honor and take along their picture,” Chris Van Beek said.
Chris hopes to use a World War II Jeep during the event, which includes a slow salute past the VA in Sioux Falls.
“Not a lot of them get visitors all the time, so an opportunity to see a lot of bikes, a lot of vehicles, a lot of different cars to come by is kind of a neat opportunity for them while they’re there,” Aaron Van Beek said.
Honor Ride is also a fundraiser for Midwest Honor Flight, as the price tag for each flight continues to climb.
“The reality is that we have to raise more money. In fact, about $20,000 more per flight going into the fall just due to those increases in fuel costs and food costs and a lot of the different things that unfortunately we’re experiencing right now, and so with that we hope to make this a successful event to help offset some of those costs,” Aaron Van Beek said.
Registration for Honor Ride starts at 12:30 Sunday afternoon at the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance in Sioux Falls.