Local businesses help veterans take flight

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Midwest Honor Flight is postponed until at least August 15th due to the pandemic, but that isn’t slowing fundraising efforts.

Midwest Honor Flight is currently grounded, but the fundraising never stops. A single flight to visit the memorials in Washington D.C. costs $150,000.

“When flights do open up and when D.C. starts to allow bigger groups such as ours to come in again that we have those funds secured so we’re not wasting any more time,” Aaron Van Beek said.

Hy-Vee of Sioux Falls and Global Distributing in Renner are working together to send as many veterans as possible to the nation’s capital.

“The bigger picture to give back to the veterans that did so much for us and our country and give them the opportunity to do something special like taking the Honor Flight,” Global Distributing Director of Sales Jon Melby said.

Global Distributing will donate 50-cents of every case of specially-marked Sparkling Ice sold to Midwest Honor Flight. A year ago, the promotion raised $3,500.

“We hope to definitely beat that number this year, and the way things have been going I foresee that happening,” Melby said.

For Melby, this is more than just a fundraiser.

“It does have a personal touch for me as well. My father is a World War II veteran and so every time I can do something like this to help out veterans, I’m thinking of him as well,” Melby said.

When Honor Flight resumes, passengers must be fully vaccinated. Van Beek says 90-percent of the veterans he’s contacted are vaccinated and eager to take flight.

“That’s reassuring that they want to go, they’re excited to go, they want to travel and most importantly, we want to get them out there to see their memorials,” Van Beek said.

Global Distributing is donating 50-cents per package sold until July 5th.

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