On Wednesday, 100 South Carolina World War II veterans will fly from Columbia to Washington, D.C., where they will be honored for their service with an Honor Flight. Two of the veterans are from York and Clover.
The trip will take the veterans, including 11 from York County, on a tour of the city, with stops at memorials for WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Made possible through donations and sponsorships, Honor Flights are a nationwide effort to provide veterans with a paid trip to see their memorial in the nation’s capital.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina sponsored today’s Honor Flight, taking veterans from South Carolina, also customers of the electric cooperatives, to Washington.
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“This is fantastic. It’s an awesome trip,” said Cletus Thomas “Pinky” Funderburk, a Rock Hill veteran who will be on the flight. “I’ve heard so much about it and have known a lot of friends who have done it.”
Funderburk said he’s “grateful” for the electric co-op for giving veterans this privilege.
“It sometimes seems trite when people say this was the ‘Greatest Generation,’ but it truly was,” said Mike Couick, president of the cooperatives.
Couick said his organization wanted to honor the veterans “who fought and won a war and came back and turned South Carolina into what it is.”
The veterans flying to Washington in their eighties and nineties and represent all the major battles in WWII, he said.
The flight is the first one that has ever been sponsored by a single organization, he said.
The interest in the flight was positive, with more than 265 veterans wanting to participate. There will be flights later this year to accommodate them, Couick said.
York County veterans signed up to participate in the Honor Flight include:
Richard I. Damron, York
Douglas Neal “Doug” Dixon, Clover
Frank A. Meliti, Fort Mill
Ralph Stikeleather, Fort Mill
Henderson Borders, Rock Hill
William A. “Bill” Buddin, Rock Hill
Cletus Thomas “Pinky” Funderburk, Rock Hill
Howard “Gundy” Gunderson, Rock Hill
Charlton Bidwell “Bid” Ivey, Rock Hill
Robert L. “Bob” Reynolds, Rock Hill
Lee G. Smoak, Jr., Rock Hill
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/04/10/3885221/11-york-county-wwii-veterans-honored.html#storylink=cpy