ROCK RAPIDS, IOWA (KELO) — The American Legion and VFW posts in Rock Rapids, Iowa hosted a pancake feed this morning to raise money for Midwest Honor Flight. The event gave people a chance to make a free-will donation, and all proceeds went directly to Midwest Honor Flight. Rock Rapids VFW Commander Dean Oberloh said they raised around $7,500 at a previous event, and notes how much the community supports the cause.
“They always come out. They support. They believe in supporting our veterans, so we’re pretty blessed to have them,” Oberloh said.
They haven’t hosted the benefit for two years, but now they’re back flipping pancakes to help send veterans to Washington D.C.
The event was cancelled last year because of COVID-19.
“All that money goes directly towards our flights. Right now that’s on hold and we’re hoping to fly this fall,” president and director of Midwest Honor Flight Aaron Van Beek said. “We’re still appreciative of the support and veterans helping veterans is always fun to see too.”
Van Beek says there are about 800 veterans on a waiting list for the trip and that it costs around $150,000 to charter a flight for 84 veterans for one day.
“To come out here and have some normal-feeling fundraiser again is actually really nice,” he said. “Not only to get people excited about Honor Flight and that anticipation of us being able to fly again, but also just a chance to meet up with people,” Van Beek said.
Veteran John Pudwill went on an Honor Flight in 2019. He says he was never recognized when he returned from the Korean War, but that was not the case when returning home from the 2019 trip.
“Especially when we pulled into the arena with the buses, I didn’t know that part was coming and then about 1,000 people cheering us. It was quite an honor,” Pudwill said.