A group of Eastern Kentucky University students arrived at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, June 12, a bit bleary-eyed and needing caffeine but excited to assist 134 female veterans who were preparing to fly to Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight. The mission of Honor Flight Kentucky is to celebrate America’s veterans by treating them to a day of honor at the nation’s memorials. Saturday’s flight was the first all-female flight sponsored by the organization.
“I wanted to be able to give back even in a small way to those who have served,” said Hannah Daniels, a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority at EKU. Delta Zeta has raised money for and volunteered with Honor Flight Kentucky since 2015. “My grandfather was a Navy veteran and I know how much he gave and how much he loved his country.”
The sorority women helped with checking the veterans in, serving breakfast, ensuring each veteran had a portrait made and lifting three American flags for each veteran to walk under on her way to the plane – a tradition for each flight.
Kenzie Johnson, a member of Delta Zeta, reflected on the emotions everyone experienced as she helped lift a flag for the women to walk under.
“Seeing their hands graze each flag as they went under and how emotional they were really showed how much serving their country meant to them,” she said. “Every woman I met was so grateful that we were there to help volunteer but really, we were there to help make their day special.”
Veterans who went on the flight included Lt. Col. (ret.) Missy Logan and her daughter, Captain (ret.) Carolyn Furdek, who is actually the third generation of females in her family to serve in the military.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be here and to experience this with her,” Furdek said as she looked toward her mother.
Delta Zeta members returned to the airport later that day to help coordinate the more than 1,500 community members who arrived to participate in the Welcome Home Celebration, another emotional aspect of each Honor Flight.
Participating in community service activities is an important aspect of being part of the Greek community.
“I am always trying to find ways of being a part of things bigger than myself,” said Brooke Skinner, Delta Zeta’s vice president of philanthropy and community service. Skinner is pictured above (at left) with veteran Marj Graves (center in blue shirt) and Johnson (at right).
Delta Zeta sponsors the Honor Run 5k each fall to help raise money for Honor Flight Kentucky. Last year, the group raised nearly $5,000 to help finance the flight to send veterans to Washington D.C.
For more information about Honor Flight Kentucky, visit https://honorflightky.org/.