Episode 370 Stephen Garrington & Jim Carson Honor Flights Celebrating Our Heroes Transcript

This transcript is from episode 370 with guests Stephen Garrington & Jim Carson.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today, my guests are Stephen Gerrington and Jim Carson. Both are veterans dedicated to the noble cause of honor flights. These gentlemen are instrumental in facilitating a experience for veterans. of the Vietnam, Korea, and World War II generations, and as part of the national non profit organization Honor Flight Network, their work involves bringing veterans to Washington, D.

C. to visit memorials, which is a gesture that resonates with appreciation and [00:01:00] honor for their service. Um, so, We’re going to get into Honor Flights and talk about what they are all about and, and how their work are, uh, you know, helping to honor those generations of veterans. But before we do that, I want to welcome you gentlemen to the show.

So, uh, welcome to the show. Glad to have you here.

Stephen Garrington: Thank you.

Jim Carson: to be here. Good to

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So, um, before we get started, could, um. You both, uh, just briefly, you know, introduce yourself, uh, tell, tell us a little bit about what you guys do with, uh, Honor Flights and, and your involvement, uh, with it, maybe, maybe, uh, Steve, we can start with you.

Stephen Garrington: All right. Well, I’m, uh, the, uh, hub director, uh, one of 120 hub directors across the United States, uh, for the Quad Cities. Uh, that’s a little, uh, four cities on the Mississippi River. Uh, so we take veterans from Iowa and Illinois to, uh,

Jim Carson: I will

Stephen Garrington: Washington, [00:02:00] D. C.

Jim Carson: week. Bye.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Awesome. And, uh, and Jim, uh, you mind introducing yourself? Uh, just tell us a little bit about what you do with, uh, the Honor Flights as well.

Jim Carson: Sure, um, I’m a member of a team of people who live in the Washington, D. C. area who greet each other. And, uh, organize the greetings for both the arrivals and the departures of the honor flights that come into Washington Dulles Airport. so we, we run several dozen, uh, flights a year in and out of the, out of Washington Dulles.


Scott DeLuzio: with Honor Flights, um, you probably are familiar. Maybe, maybe you, uh, aren’t familiar with the name, um, but you’ve probably seen the videos on social media with a plane full of veterans heading to Washington, DC, um, you know, and they, they, [00:03:00] uh, take these, these veterans.

Bring them to Washington. They, they take them to all the memorials, uh, you know, over there in, in Washington. And, um, you know, it’s really a great experience for them to see those memorials. Sometimes, uh, they might not have ever gotten a chance to, to go and visit. Uh, some of these memorials and, and honor flights makes that possible.

So, um, so you’re, you’re probably somewhat familiar with what they do if you’ve ever seen any of those videos on, uh, social media. But, um, before we, um, you know, dive more into that, I want to kind of take a step back and, um, talk about the, uh, kind of. Concept of bringing these veterans to Washington, D. C. to visit the memorials.

Um, where did this concept come from and, and how did this, this all get started? Steve, you and I, before we, uh, started recording, we were talking just a little bit about it. Could you, uh, kind of fill us in a little bit on, um, not only, uh, you know, the start of the organization as a [00:04:00] whole, but, um, but also, you know, how, how these, uh, hubs get started as well.

Jim Carson: I

Stephen Garrington: 2004, they dedicated the uh, World War II Memorial, but by that time, most of the World War II veterans were getting rather old. I mean, that was 60 years after the war had ended. So, um,

Jim Carson: time.

Stephen Garrington: in Ohio Uh, was talking about how he was planning to go to D. C. to do some work with his friend, uh, next door neighbor, and his next door neighbor was a Marine Corps veteran, and he said, Gee, ah, I’d love to go there to see the World War II Memorial, but, you know, I’m getting too old to go over there, and he says, Well, you can come with me, you can fly with my plane.

The next day, the veteran came over and said, How many seats you got in that plane? And the guy said, well, I got four. He says, well, I got 13 guys lined up who want to go. And so, uh, this pharmacist got all the, his friends at the flying club in their planes and flew these guys to DC. That [00:05:00] was the very first honor flight.

And after that, he said, uh, this is, this has got to be done for veterans all over the United States. So he sold his business and, uh, became the full time. Um, Director of Honor Flight for many years, and uh, it’s kind of a general way, it was basically there for, it was, it was for World War II veterans who need, who were older and needed help to get to D.

C. to see the uh, memorial.

Jim Carson: soon.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Awesome. And. And we’re also talking about getting a hub set up. And you mentioned there’s 120 hubs around the country. Some probably more concentrated than others as far as, uh, you know, where these hubs are and the, the population and things like that. I’m sure some are a lot more spread out, uh, than, than others.

Uh, if you, if you look at them on a, on a map versus the population. And so there might be some areas that are underserved as far as the hubs are concerned. Um, what. What [00:06:00] was involved in getting a hub started in your area?

Stephen Garrington: Well, we, we knew that we wanted to have Honor Flight, we’d, we’d looked into it, some veterans had asked about it, and the closest to us was Chicago, and they had a long waiting list, and so Chicago said, I’ll tell you what, we can’t, Handle your people, but we can tell you how to get started. And after that, Cedar Rapids called us and said, How did you guys get started?

And we helped them, and we helped Dubuque, and we helped So, each, uh, basically, a group of volunteers get together and they say, We want to start an Honor Flight Hub. And they go to the nearest one nearby and say, Hey, how do you, how’d you do this? And what do you do? Every hub does it a little differently.

We’re all allowed to do it whichever way works best for us. But, uh, we all get help from each other.

Jim Carson: for joining

Scott DeLuzio: so you’re involved on, on the other side. So the, with the hubs that we were just talking about, that’s, that’s kind of getting the veterans together, getting them to [00:07:00] their, their kind of more local airport to, to send them off, um, you know, to, on their trip to DC, but you’re on the receiving end, uh, in, in the DC area, um,

Jim Carson: future.

Scott DeLuzio: us about what.

You see on your end, uh, as far as these, these veterans coming in, um, you know, sometimes you, you said there could be, you know, a dozen, uh, you know, trips coming in, um, you know, sometimes you get all these veterans, uh, and I got to imagine it’s a pretty moving, pretty emotional experience for these folks.


Jim Carson: It’s an incredible experience and it, nobody really understands or gets, uh, who comes or gets involved initially as I did. And just how much work there is behind the scenes, both at the hub level and at the airport levels. We have three airports here in Washington that all host honor flights. Baltimore, Washington, Wright, Reagan National, and Dulles.[00:08:00]

And it’s truly a team effort. at the, at the airport, because you’ve got vast numbers of volunteers who come in to greet the planes. We’ve had as many as three or four hundred people at Washington Dulles to greet a flight coming in. But TSA is involved, the airport police are involved, the airport logistics people are involved.

The The organizations that provide the food and the transportation. So it’s an incredibly, uh, complicated sort of logistics effort at this end, as well as at the hub, at the hub end. Uh, the experience for both the volunteers and that come to greet the planes at the flights and the, um, and the veterans is, is an incredibly emotional experience.

Most of the veterans don’t realize what. What they’re going to, what they’re going to see when they arrive at the airport. And what they see is a crowd of several [00:09:00] hundred people, often a band, often an honor guard, often the local police providing a motorcycle escort into town. Um, I’ve, I’ve seen, um, I’ve seen veterans, uh, just sobbing.

After they’ve come, run the gauntlet, as we, as we call it, of the people greeting them. Uh, for many of them, uh, especially Vietnam veterans, it’s the first time anybody has said thank you for your service or welcome home to them. And it’s an incredibly emotional experience.

Stephen Garrington: And Jim, I want to add that, uh, one of the most wonderful things, uh, many of the airports, uh, get, uh, school children to come out and our guys are absolutely thrilled to have these young people come out. You guys do a wonderful, wonderful job of having, uh, People there, some military, some civilians and, and the [00:10:00] children.

And, uh, uh, when you see, uh, one of our veterans in a wheelchair with two kids on their lap, rolling down the aisle, they’re having a good time, you know? Uh, uh, we really appreciate. What, uh, they do at the airport that we use, which is Delos, and they just do a wonderful, fantastic job, and we just, uh, our guys, as you said, it is an emotional point, uh, it is a start, and we don’t tell them it’s coming, by the way, we let them, we let them,

Scott DeLuzio: well, yeah, you want that,

Jim Carson: The first sign they get that something special is going on is when they get the fire trucks arcing the, arcing fire hose water over the airplane as they pull up to the terminal. I, on the, on the kids, I, I tell everybody, uh, the other adult volunteers, I say, you know, we’re, we’re just extraneous. They’ve used, they’ve seen a lot of old [00:11:00] people, you know, but to have young kids come up waving American flags and saying thank you for your service to these veterans, it’s, as you said, it’s just an amazing experience.

Scott DeLuzio: you know, so I’m, I’m not from one of the generations that is being served currently by, uh, honor flights, although I’m sure in the future that that’ll probably change. Um, but you know, when I came back from Afghanistan, um, the airport in Atlanta, um, there were. So many supporters there, and this was completely unexpected, uh, when I first came, came through that airport, um, people with American flags and signs, and, uh, you know, it was like, you said, kind of like a, a gauntlet that you’re going through of all the, the supporters, and as I was walking through that, I was thinking to myself, man, how far have we come, uh, since the Vietnam era, when [00:12:00] guys were coming home from overseas, and they were getting spit at, they were getting called names, and, you know, all these, these terrible things that people would do to them, um And here I am being fortunate enough to walk through this crowd of people who are, you know, clapping and, and waving American flags and thanking me and, and all this stuff.

And, uh, you know, it, I got to imagine for, especially for those Vietnam era folks who are going through, um, Through those, those crowds, it’s got to be a pretty emotional experience for them.

Jim Carson: I, I think it is. I remember when I came back from Vietnam in 1972 and flew into Oakland Army, uh, Oakland process through Oakland Army base, um, I was, I was an army captain and the sergeant who was processing me said, sir, are you going to go downtown tonight? And I said, yeah. And he said, don’t wear your uniform. And,

Scott DeLuzio: that’s pretty [00:13:00] sad that an American soldier can’t wear an American army uniform going through, uh, an American city, you know,

Jim Carson: and I think I’ve spent,

Stephen Garrington: The whole day is a day of thank you. I mean, we, we, they start off at, at the airport there when they arrive. Uh, then on the way home, we do, uh, letters. We’ve, we’ve contacted families and said, would you send letters? And then they, they have mail call on the airplane and the guys get to open letters from.

Family members and friends and from strangers that just say thank you so much for what you have done. Very, very emotional time on the airplane. And then when we get home, we do another, uh, walk through. Another crowd is there, uh, in our area. We have between five, the hundred, and a thousand people show up every flight to say again, say thank you for your service and welcome home.

It is, it’s an emotional day all the way through. These guys, and they’re all, and, uh, [00:14:00] The, uh, guardians that go along are pooped, I can tell you that right now, but the veterans, they’re ready to go, I’m telling.

Jim Carson: all

Scott DeLuzio: and so, uh, When you get the, this group of veterans, a lot of them probably don’t really know each other. I mean, I’m sure there’s, there’s some who do, but is there that, that camaraderie, that, that bond, that, that kind of, uh, comes together? Like as they, they get on that plane, they start talking to each other and realize, Hey, these, these guys are, are like me.

These I’m with my people now. You know, is that kind of like what the experience is like when you, when you get on those planes?

Stephen Garrington: Always when veterans get together, I think that’s part of it, but it’s also with their, with the guardians that we send along with them. These are people who’ve never heard the stories before, and, uh, your family member may have heard it, but the guardian hasn’t. And you can say, you can tell them, gee, let me tell you what I did.

And, you know, you can kind of stretch the truth if you, you can lie is what you can do if you want to. That is it. [00:15:00] Uh, let me tell you how I helped Creighton Abrams, you know, I’m going to want to tell you how I, how I, what, um. they have a wonderful, and then, uh, we, we tell our guardians, now make sure if you hear a story, you remind them to tell their, your family when you get back home, because many stories, this is the first time they’ve come out, and now we say, guardians, part of your job is to tell them, make sure your family knows about this.

Write it down, tell them, let it keep going.

Jim Carson: I did, uh, I did an honor flight, uh, as, as, uh, a member of the flight, uh, they, here in Northern Virginia, we have one. We obviously don’t have to use an airplane, but we do every, every other part. And I had a guardian who I’d never met before. He was a local volunteer from a local company. And by the end of the day, uh, we felt like close friends.

Um, [00:16:00] and I knew very few of the people on the bus or a few from the place where I live, my wife and I live, but, uh, by the end of the day, the group dynamic was just incredible. Uh, it, it, it was an experience I, like I’ve never had before.

Scott DeLuzio: Kind of what I suspected, you know, talking to veterans on this show. Um, sometimes the very first time that I speak to them is when, you know, just moments before hitting record, uh, on, on the show. And then a lot of times by the end of the episode, uh, I feel like I’ve known the person on the other end for.

The longest time, you know, and it’s just that, that connection that veterans have. And I, I think that’s, um, you know, such a strong thing, but it’s something that we, we don’t tap into enough. Um, because a lot of times I hear from other veterans, one of the things that they miss most is that [00:17:00] camaraderie. Uh, with other veterans after getting out, it’s like, I’m thrown out into the world.

And, um, I’m in this big sea of civilians that nobody knows me. No one can relate to the experiences that I’ve been through or, or any of that. But then they get together with another veteran and it’s like. I’m home. I found my, my people. Right. And

Jim Carson: much.

Scott DeLuzio: feel alone, feel like they’re there. They don’t have that community or whatever. Find other veterans. That’s something I think would, would be a great thing. And I got to imagine after some of these flights, some of the guys who were, and some of the ladies who were on these flights, um, Uh, they, they probably keep in touch afterwards, I would imagine in some right?

Stephen Garrington: we’ve had, uh, lessons Uh, being invited to, uh, the Guardian’s home for dinner. We’ve had [00:18:00] veterans that get together, and of course, then they all say, Well, have you joined my American Legion post? You know, I, uh, there, uh, and, uh, and so they They meet together, they meet with their guardians, they meet with other veterans, and they make some life long friendships.

Um, it comes, some of them come as groups. We’ve had groups of five or six that are buddies that go at one time. We one time had four brothers who go on, who are all veterans who went on the same flight. That was, that was kind of exciting as well. And of course we do have women,

Scott DeLuzio: is cool. Yeah. Yeah. And, and yeah, and, and having, having those, those groups of folks who already know each other, I think that that’s great too, because, um, that’s, that’s just that one more experience that you get to share together, um, and, and going to DC and seeing the, these, uh, memorials, uh, you know, I’ve.

Jim Carson: all

Scott DeLuzio: We [00:19:00] were talking before we started recording. Um, and

Jim Carson: Bye. so

Scott DeLuzio: pretty incredible to see, um, you know, going to the Vietnam War Memorial and seeing all of those names on the wall, like, it starts to

Jim Carson: you

Scott DeLuzio: of just how, uh, how meaningful this is. Small area that was carved out, uh, for the purpose of this memorial, um, it’s more than just stone that’s placed in the ground.

It’s, it’s a place for people to come to, uh, you know, heal, to remember, to, uh, you know, feel like they’ve been recognized. And, and it’s, um. It’s, it’s powerful, I think, in, in, in bringing these veterans out to, uh, see these things just kind of hopefully makes them realize, like, as a country, we are grateful for the things that they have done, [00:20:00] um, you know, on, on our behalf, really.


Jim Carson: Well, I think so. The other thing that struck me, you know, the veterans all wear, uh, A distinctive shirt, t shirt or a sweatshirt. And, um, that, those shirts are like magnets when you get down to the memorials. Uh, people, people who are there because they’re tourists or whatever, uh, just are drawn to the veterans.

And I, I can’t tell you how many. People just came up to me at every memorial and, and asked where I had served and what I had done and, you know, thanked me and, uh, it, it’s an overwhelming experience.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Stephen Garrington: we tell

Scott DeLuzio: I can imagine. Yeah.

Stephen Garrington: we tell them that children like veterans in wheelchairs, uh,

Jim Carson: They sure did

Stephen Garrington: you know, first of all, the veteran is now at their level, so they can come up anytime, but [00:21:00] kids love to come up to veterans in wheelchairs, and, uh, so, uh, some of our guys may be a little hesitant about using a wheelchair, Uh, I can use a cane, I can use a walker.

No, we put you in a wheelchair and, uh, and the kid, and the kids come up to the guys in wheelchairs. That’s kind of very special.

Jim Carson: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I got to imagine the, the. Being in the wheelchair, you’re, you’re kind of more down on their you know, eye to eye, right? And so you can, you can talk to them and, um, you know, they don’t, they don’t feel like they’re, they’re holding you up. You know, if you’re, if you’re leaning on a cane, kind of, kind of almost seems like, Hey, I want to.

I want to keep moving here because I got that momentum going, right? But if you’re sitting in a wheelchair, they’re not holding you up there. You’re, you’re, you’re comfortable there where, where you are. And, uh, they can see you eye to eye and, and it makes the conversation probably a whole lot better. And,

Stephen Garrington: So our hub,

Scott DeLuzio: for a little ride on, ride on the lap too, right?

Stephen Garrington: our hubs do not allow any wheel, any canes, any walkers. If you, uh, have any trouble with walking, [00:22:00] putting you in a wheelchair, by golly. And we’ve had, uh, organizations donate wheelchairs, so we now have plenty of wheelchairs, so we can, uh, it’s a great way to go. And I thought when we got to Vietnam, we would have less wheelchairs than we did at World War II, but that’s not quite true.

have a lot of wheelchairs from guys from Vietnam, so it’s kind of amazing.

Scott DeLuzio: Wow. That is interesting. I wonder, I wonder why. I wonder if, uh,

Stephen Garrington: We’re getting older from one thing.

Scott DeLuzio: well, sure, sure. But so, so are

Stephen Garrington: am. I’m telling you right now.

Jim Carson: Well, and then a lot of, a lot of the guys who were on the ground in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange, and so there lot of health issues with Vietnam veterans, more than think people realize. very

Scott DeLuzio: how can they get [00:23:00] involved to get veterans from their part of the country out to Washington? I mean, obviously if there’s a hub nearby, um, you know, Probably get in touch with that hub, but how do they find these hubs or, or.

If there isn’t a hub, uh, you know, what, what’s that process like to, um, you know, get them, uh, you know, get it, get those veterans out to Washington.

Stephen Garrington: normally just Google Honor Flight and then you’re near me or Honor Flight and the closest city or airport that you have and it’ll come up. Honor Flight Quad Cities, you’d get our Facebook page, they all have them, and on the each Facebook page or almost every hub will be the application for the veterans and the guardians, and so you can download those and, and certainly, Become a veteran or a guardian on one of our flights, then you mail it on in and we’re getting you ready to go.

So it’s [00:24:00] pretty easy to get involved. And of course, it’s all about the veteran. That’s our motto. It’s all about the veteran. So, if you’re a little distance away, That’s not a problem. If you can get, if you can get to the airport on that day, we’re gonna get you to, we’ll get you to the, uh, to D. C. Um, we had one person from California and, uh, his son lived in the Quad Cities and they said, what about Grandpa?

Can he come over? And sure. So, Grandpa flew in, was there for a couple of weeks with his grandson, went on the honor flight. Went home and flew back to California. Very happy guy. We’re, we’re all about the veteran. Not, we’re not,

Jim Carson: the

Stephen Garrington: worried about where you are from or what you did or anything like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. So I guess the, the, the real main point here is if you can get to the airport, then you’re good to go. And, um, the rest of it. It’s pretty much taken care of, right? I mean, all the flights and the transportation, all that kind of stuff, [00:25:00] uh, from, you know, on, on the DC end, uh, is, is all taken care of, right?

Stephen Garrington: Free for the veteran. Veterans pay nothing. We tell them to take no money. What about tips? We handle the tips. We handle everything. You don’t need to take any money.

Jim Carson: hope

Stephen Garrington: want you, uh, smashed on the airplane going back, okay? No money.

Jim Carson: soon. One of, one of my jobs in one of the terminals at Dulles is to stand guard by the, uh, by the bar and make sure that none of the veterans or their guardians come in and order a beer.

Stephen Garrington: Absolutely.

Scott DeLuzio: can imagine because, because once, once you are a service member, I don’t care if you’re, you know, army, Marines, uh, you know, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, you know, any of the branches, I don’t care. Uh, Once you’ve been there, um, I think you’ve, you’ve, uh, earned your, your, [00:26:00] uh, your, your drinking license and, and you, uh, you, you can pound back a few.

Stephen Garrington: Especially after an emotional day like this, you really And you need to process and, and, uh, and, and, and we go up and down the airport or airplane while we’re flying back. What was great? What did you like? Uh, one of the guys, Vietnam vets said, I liked the Korean War Memorial the best. And I said, well, you’re a Vietnam vet.

Why, why the Korean Memorial? And he said, well, The Vietnam Memorial is great. He says, I love it. It’s it’s, but it’s kind of like a tombstone and the Korean memorial. They’re all alive. There’s these, these statues of guys who are living.

Jim Carson: Yeah. Yeah.

Stephen Garrington: And he says, so it’s a living memorial. And I said, well, that’s, I like that.

That’s I had never considered that before. So it is, it’s an emotional, a thoughtful day for all these guys and for the guardians as well. Uh, [00:27:00] our guardians pay a certain amount. Every hub sets a different amount. Our guardians pay 400. For the privilege of going with the, with the veteran, and they come back, they’re, they are saying, I’ll do, can I do it again?

Yeah, another 400 bucks. Here’s my check. Uh, they are,

Scott DeLuzio: It’s

Stephen Garrington: is, it is a grand day for them all, and, and they, an emotional day. But a great day.

Jim Carson: and

Scott DeLuzio: And on the, the DC end, um, uh, uh, so Jim, for the, for any folks in that area who want to greet them, uh, greet the veterans at the airport or want to. You know, volunteer and participate in any of the logistics or, you know, any of that type of stuff, uh, that might be going on. Um, is there, there a need out there?

Uh, do you already have in it, you know, a, a network of folks that are in place or, you know, how can people get involved, uh, with, with that?[00:28:00]

Jim Carson: the merrier, believe you me, especially as some of us age up, but all they have to do is Google. Uh, Honor Flight, Dulles, uh, we have a Facebook page, we have a website page, uh, as soon as the flight schedules come up, we post them on the website, people can sign up.

Uh, the nice thing is we get free parking at Dulles Airport, uh, compliments of the airport, uh, the airport. Uh, leadership, and, um, there’s a multitude of roles, uh, just, just to come out and greet the veterans. Uh, that’s great if people want to get more involved, uh, they, all they have to do is look for one of us volunteers wearing a yellow honors, a neon yellow ownership shirt, and we’ll, uh, we’ll tell them how to get more involved.

It’s, um, it’s a great experience.

Stephen Garrington: The, the, the [00:29:00] help at the airport is just fantastic. There are a lot of people there giving you hugs and, uh, I get one from Colleen who is, who’s one of the people out at Dulles every time I go there. Uh, Jim, I don’t want a hug from you, but that’s all right.

Jim Carson: I’ve been known to give hugs.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So, I mean, it’s, it’s great because. There’s an opportunity for anybody, uh, you know, at any level, whatever it is

Jim Carson: Oh, yes.

Scott DeLuzio: are, are, uh, interested in participating. And even if, uh, and I’m saying this kind of, kind of casually here, but even if it’s just standing there with an American flag welcoming the folks in there, um, It’s not a huge effort on the part of, uh, the folks who are standing there waving the flags, clapping, you know, greeting them however they, they choose to.

Um, but on the other end, the, the folks who are coming in and seeing all of the, the pomp and circumstance and all the, the stuff that’s going on there, it [00:30:00] makes them feel like they’re welcome, that they are, um, uh, their service was appreciated and, and all that type of stuff. So, um,

Jim Carson: see you

Scott DeLuzio: thing for the folks

Jim Carson: the future.

Scott DeLuzio: for, for a little bit of time and waving and clapping and all that kind of stuff, it has a huge impact on the, on the folks that are coming through, especially when you’re seeing huge crowds of people who are waving these flags and greeting people.


Jim Carson: Oh, yeah, well, I don’t think those who come out really understand the impact that they’re They’re having it. We try to let them know that they, they do. When they see a veteran in tears being hugged by a kid, then they understand the impact that the crowd having. And, um [00:31:00] You

Stephen Garrington: the best damn day of my life. That’s how it was. Yeah, it

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you know, it’s like the, the, uh, old saying that we had, uh, in, in the army, if it, if it ain’t raining, we ain’t training and, uh, you know, so you, you kind of, kind of. Embrace that suck, if you will. You know, you, you, you embrace it, and, um, yeah, it was raining, yeah, it was cold, it was, it was wet and everything, but still, it was It was amazing, right?

And, and that’s, um, that’s great attitude to have, uh, I think when, when you have, uh, folks who, uh, go through that type [00:32:00] of experience, um, sometimes a, a quite emotional experience, um, but still can, um, you know, have a smile on their face at the end of the day, um, and, and appreciate the goodness that comes from it.

Uh, I think that, Speaks volumes about the type of work that you, you guys do and all the other folks who are involved, um, but you know, on, on your guys end, um, it’s a lot of work to, uh, facilitate getting the folks to the airport, um, and, and getting the flights organized, getting them, um, you know, out of the airport and getting them to the memorials and, uh, going, going around and seeing everything, uh, that they need to see.

And then, uh, Keeping tabs on all those people and getting them back because I, I know,

Jim Carson: much

Scott DeLuzio: a, uh, any kind of military vehicle or transport or anything like that. And we’d always have to count off, uh, you know, how many, how many people are on, on the bus or on the plane or whatever.

And you count off and inevitably [00:33:00] someone screws up. The count somewhere along the way. It’s, you know, like one, two, three, three, and then it’s like, no, we got to start over again and we got to go all the way through. So doing, doing what you guys are doing, uh, I got to imagine it’s not an easy job, but, uh, rewarding, uh, for sure.

I, I, I have to imagine. Um, and so, um, I definitely encourage people who are listening to this, who know somebody, if, if it’s not you, uh, yourself, um. Know somebody who is, you know, from the, the Vietnam, the Korea World War II, uh, generations, uh, to get in touch with the, the honor flights and, and check out, um, uh, you know, what they have to offer and, uh, see if you can’t get that, that veteran out to Washington to, uh, check out the memorials and, and have their service be honored.

Um, or if you’re the veteran yourself. Um, definitely, uh, check it out as well. Um, and, and the website, uh, for [00:34:00] Honor Flights, it’s honorflight, uh, dot org, I believe, is that, uh, correct?

Stephen Garrington: get you the national website. Uh, ours is HonorFlightQC, uh, but each hub has its own website. Uh, and we really encourage people to, uh, download a application for the veteran and then take it to the veteran and say, here, I’m going to help you fill this out and I’ll send it in for you. Because a lot veterans are hesitant to fill out an application.

Well, you know, I didn’t do much. I was, I was a clerk typist back in Fort Ord, California. You know what? When you. You signed a blank check as a veteran. I, I was promised a lot of things, which I never got, okay? I want to tell you that right now. So, you, you may, just because you didn’t go to Vietnam or didn’t go to Korea doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have because you never know.

Uh, the, the [00:35:00] government has a fine print down there that says we can send you anywhere we want. So, uh, we say just because you didn’t go, It doesn’t mean you aren’t a veteran of that era. We want you to go. We appreciate your service. You were ready. You were willing.

Jim Carson: today.

Stephen Garrington: So, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right. Yeah. And a lot of times Yeah, a lot of times veterans get that, that, uh, mindset, like, Oh, I, I didn’t do as much as the other guy. So, um, you know, my service as worthy or as significant as that other person. I mean, that, that to me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because, uh, otherwise like we, we can’t all be.

You know, charging the hill and, you know, going, going and busting down doors. Like those people who are busting down the doors and charging the hills, they need the people to support them. They need the, you know, the artillery that’s, that’s, you know, maybe a mile or two away or something, [00:36:00] or they need the logistics.

They need the, um, you know, the, the cooks and they need the, the mechanics and they need all the, all these other. Um, support folks to enable them to be able to do their job. And some of those people are back home and you need those people to load the planes to do other things to, uh, you know, send that support.

Um, and, and even honestly, if nothing else, they’re here as a deterrent, um, to, you know, help protect. Um, you know, the country, well, yes, other people are off fighting a war. You’re, you’re staying here, uh, stateside as a deterrent to deter other people from coming and invading into the United States. So you say you did nothing.

That sounds like a pretty significant nothing if you ask me, right?

Jim Carson: I’ve never seen anybody involved in an honor flight or talking to a vet, uh, [00:37:00] gauging their reaction to the person, uh, based on what they did. The fact of the matter is, and the, what we are honoring is their service to the country. And, as you said, Scott, there are many, many ways to serve this country, and, and that ought to be recognized.

Every, every incident, every person who served this country needs that recognition, and deserves it.

Stephen Garrington: They all went through basic. They all had a sergeant they hated. They all had a stupid lieutenant. I mean, there are some things that they all had, you know, I mean, they all had rotten food from one place or another. I mean, it, it was, and they’ve all got a story to tell you about it too, I tell you.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Sure. And, and you hit the nail on the head on every single one of those things. I’ve had them. So,

Jim Carson: So did I.

Stephen Garrington: Ah, yeah, me too.

Scott DeLuzio: So, um, [00:38:00] well guys, I it’s, it’s been really a pleasure speaking with you today. Um, um, uh, Encouraging folks to go and check out, uh, you know, the Honor Flight website or, uh, you know, Google for the, the local, uh, hubs in your area. Uh, get that application, uh, like, like they were saying, uh, give it to the veteran and help them fill it out and send it in for them and let them know that their service is Uh, is being honored here.

Um, no matter how big or little their service was, it’s, it’s important. It’s significant. They, they did what their country asked them to do, and they may not feel that way, but. Everybody else, we, we, uh, we feel that way. We, we feel like, um, that, that service should be honored, uh, just as much as, uh, you know, the guys who were quote unquote doing more than, than those other folks.

So, [00:39:00] um, you know, definitely, um, encourage them. And if, if you need some help encouraging them, have them listen to this episode and, and hear, three, three veterans here saying. Get your butt on that plane and do it, right?

Stephen Garrington: Physical disability is not problem. We’ve taken people with all sorts of disabilities along with us. We, we have our own oxygen concentrators. We can handle any kind of physical disability. So, don’t, that’s not a problem.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So, and don’t use it as an excuse. Like that,

Jim Carson: Absolutely,

Scott DeLuzio: that’s, that’s a bunch of crap. I don’t, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna sit here and say, Oh yeah. Oh, it’s fine. I can’t, I can’t walk. Well, they got wheelchairs. Oh, well, I, I don’t, I don’t want anyone to push them, push me around. Well, they,

Jim Carson: us

Stephen Garrington: zero meters. So I can’t run through it right now. Well, after

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And that’s not going to get you to Washington. So, [00:40:00] you know, let’s, let’s just leave that behind and, um, let’s, let’s get you on that plane and get you out there. So, um, before we wrap up this episode, uh, I like to do this segment, uh, just to have a little bit of fun at the end, just a little bit of humor, uh, to get people laughing, um, it’s called.

Is it service connected? And, uh, it’s basically just watching a, uh, short video, kind of like America’s Funniest Home Videos, uh, but military edition. So, you know, service members doing something kind of, kind of stupid, kind of funny, uh, you know, bouncing around, falling, you know, all that kind of stuff. And, uh, you know, getting mildly injured, uh, sometimes.

And we, we, We kind of laugh at it and, uh, and then we can, we can kind of joke about whether or not it would be service connected nine times 10. It’s probably not, but you know, it’s, it’s fun to, to take a look and, and kind of have a little laugh at other, other people’s expenses in, uh, in this kind of thing.

So I’m just going to pull up this video real quick for you folks to, [00:41:00] uh, take a look at, um, give me just a second here. So sharing this screen, um, all right. So, um, for the audio listeners, uh, check out the show on YouTube or Twitter, uh, where I post the full version of this, uh, this episode, you’ll be able to see this video on there.

But, um, if you can’t see it for some reason, uh, I’ll try to describe it right now. It looks like we got a few soldiers, uh, in the back of a. Uh, uh, Chinook as it’s flying. Um, got, got the, the door open in the back, uh, two guys sitting on the ramp. Um, one of them’s holding on, they’re both strapped in, it looks like, um, but.

Let’s, uh, let’s take a quick look and see, uh, what’s about to happen. I think these guys are about to have a bad day. Oh, they, uh, they took, took a bad [00:42:00] turn or something. I’m not sure what they did, uh, with that, but they,

Jim Carson: Ha

Scott DeLuzio: both guys ended up. Hit in the ceiling in, in the, uh, helicopter and,

Jim Carson: ha

Scott DeLuzio: God they were strapped in, uh, so they didn’t end up going flying out the backside, but, um, they, they probably got their, their clocks wrong.

I would imagine there could be some, uh, some head injuries there. but, but it’s, um, yeah, unfortunately, uh, um, you know, one of those things comes with the territory when you’re. When you’re flying in unpredictable conditions, you might end up bouncing around a bit, right?

Jim Carson: why I tried to stay out of helicopters in Vietnam. Oh,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Um, that, that did not look fun. Um, you know, that, that probably, well, that’s if they were seeing straight, [00:43:00] they might’ve been seeing two pilots at that they’re just whapping at one, you know, but, um, anyways, guys, thank you for taking the time to join me. sharing, uh, what it is that you do with Honor Flights and, and the experiences that you provide for, uh, the veterans who, uh, have sacrificed so much and, uh, now can, uh, see that we as a country, uh, honor their service.

So thank you again for everything that you guys do.

Stephen Garrington: Welcome home.

Jim Carson: welcome.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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