Honor Flight Nevada creates trip for vets who can't travel

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Honor Flight Nevada is known for giving veterans a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Washington, D.C. The trip to see their war memorials, more often than not, changes the veterans and gives them an opportunity to open up and heal.

But for many veterans, that trip is one they will never take. Some don't want to take the trip without their spouses. Others think there are veterans more deserving. Still others are unable to board a plane and fly across the country.

"It could be oxygen, different medical conditions, altitude, some of those needs prohibit them from getting on a plane," Jon Yuspa, founder of Honor Flight Nevada, said.

Wish a mission of making sure every veteran is honored, Yuspa found a special way to give those veterans the honor they deserve.

"Just because they can't or don't want to go doesn't mean they shouldn't be honored," he said.

For all the veterans who are too sick or unable to travel, Honor Flight Nevada is hosting a special trip in mid-December. The organization is condensing three days to three hours during a luncheon in Reno. The "trip" will include a video tour of the war memorials as well as some of the more memorable surprise Honor Flight Nevada is known for.

"There's no doubt in my mind they can do a lot in 3 hours," said Larry Dunn, a Vietnam veteran who just returned from him trip earlier in November. "They really can and I would encourage any veteran to attend."

Dunn pushed three of his friends to apply for the trip as well. They soon earned the nickname 'The Four Horseman' for their antics during the trip. But for one of the horseman, Lou Solsbury, it was a trip he never wanted to take.

"I think I just kind of put the Vietnam experience behind me, and just didn't want to re-address it any more," he said.

But he went, and while it was emotional, it was also life-changing.

"I saw a calmness, and closure, and acceptance, and I don't think it would have been the same had they not done this," Dunn said. "I is a trip of a lifetime. I think any veteran deserves to go. Even if they didn't serve in a war they deserve to go. They served our country."

"You'll see some of that, not as deep, but you'll see some of that in 3 hours," Yuspa said. "It's just camaraderie, the commonality of being veterans and people caring for them. People don't go out of their way on an average day to thank and care for each other, so when we do stuff like that it really opens them up."

Honor Flight Nevada is searching for World War II veterans from all over the state, as well as veterans who are too sick to attend this luncheon. The details of the lunch will be given to the veterans selected to attend, but applying is easy.

"It doesn't have to be veterans who see this that want to go," Yuspa said. "Their family, their kids, their neighbors- they all have a veteran that should be honored. Help sign them up!"

To apply for the luncheon, call Honor Flight Nevada at 775-323-9955 or click here. Honor Flight Nevada asks that people call or apply in the next two weeks.