Indiana Governor and Columbus native Mike Pence made a surprise appearance May 9 before 70 World War II veterans and their families during the fifth trip of the Indy Honor Flight.
The program is a not-for-profit organization that provides free transportation to elderly veterans so they may visit the memorials which have been erected on their behalf.
For the second consecutive month, three Bartholomew County residents were among the 70 veterans chosen to fly to see the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. during a one-day, round-trip visit.
They were identified by event organizers as:
- Frank “Bob” Birk, 91, Maple Street, Columbus.
- Elsie M. Herron, 81, East Lake Shore Drive, Hope.
- John Walter, 93, West Tulip Drive, Columbus.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard spoke to the veterans during a get acquainted dinner and reception. Pence greeted them the following night after they returned from the nation’s capital.
The three Bartholomew County World War II veterans were also honored during an April flight. They were Peter Ster and Raymond Minor, both of Columbus, as well as Newbern resident Chester Caffee.
The Indy Honor Flight program is part of the 9-year-old National Honor Flight Network, which has sent almost 100,000 veterans to Washington at no charge to them since its inception.
The program is expected to soon become open to veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars.