Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Thank you Tops Friendly Markets!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Honor Flight Syracuse recently met with local Tops Friendly Markets leaders to receive a generous donation from the Tops tent at this year’s Taste Of Syracuse. Tops has been a longtime friend and supporter of Honor Flight Syracuse, and we thank them for their support! Special thanks to our champion Kathy Allen, Sr Manager Community Relations, for her amazing commitment to our veterans!

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Mission #006: Mission Accomplished! – Thanks to All!

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Dear Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends,

On behalf of Dick Blansett, John McMakin and myself who led HFS Hancock hub-end Ground Team events for Mission 6, an immense “Thank You!” to the Honor Flight Syracuse volunteers and organizations who contributed so much to the success of this past Saturday, including:

Syracuse Hancock Airport Fire Department, for the Water Cannon Salute;
Patriot Guard Riders, for providing an Honor Guard, morning and evening;
Thread Bear Quilters Guild, for presenting hand-crafted lap quilts to each Veteran;
Syracuse University ROTC, for presenting a special pillow to each Veteran;
Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band;
Civil Air Patrol, SU ROTC and Mattydale American Legion Post, for providing Color Guards;
Fowler Navy Junior ROTC students, for helping address crowd needs during the Welcome Home;
NY Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing, for providing the tram service to and from the parking area, morning and evening.

And all the individual Honor Flight Volunteers from across the Central NY community who provided the time and talent in so many ways, not just for Mission 6, but throughout these past three years to ensure program success!

Special recognition to three tremendous partners:

SRC, Inc. & AXA Volunteers who led, staffed & flawlessly executed the Mission 6 departure, many of whom also returned to the Airport for the Welcome Home;
Le Moyne Department of Nursing – LeMoyne nurses have been with HFS since the beginning, providing the core of the superlative nurse team, ably led by Kara Keyes, without which there’d be no Honor Flight Syracuse. Veteran Health & Safety is at the very heart of each and every mission. Of course they are on the Flight Team, but the majority of their work is in the pre-Mission planning, calling and assessing the needs of each Veteran and the capabilities of each Guardian.

On a personal note, words are inadequate in describing how proud I am of the HFS 100% Volunteer organization, an organization where virtually every dollar spent goes to support our Mission program for the deserving Veterans of our community. For those of you finding yourselves perhaps too close to the details, you may tend to see flaws, or, more accurately, ways to improve processes for the next mission.  With six successful missions though, our Volunteer team continues to perform superbly, as it has from the beginning.  As with past HFS Missions, I was again besieged with many positive comments from Mission 6 Veterans, family members and friends; our Distinguished Guests and media reps were effusive, repeatedly expressing their amazement at how well organized and how well run the Mission 6 operation went, not to mention the enthusiasm of the HFS Volunteers themselves.

This and more is all thanks to you, our amazing volunteers. So on behalf of the entire board, I say THANK YOU!

John F. Paddock
Co-founder & Vice President
Honor Flight Syracuse

Flags of Honor and Gratitude

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

This fall, the Onondaga North Rotary Club will present Flags of Honor and Gratitude. You can purchase a flag to be flown in front of the Great Northern Mall to thank or honor a veteran. Honor Flight Syracuse will be the beneficiary of the net proceeds from any flag purchased through our website. Please download the application today. Flags of Honor and Gratitude Application. Thank you!

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Cazenovia celebrates Father’s Day with “Flags Of Our Heroes” event

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The Flags Of Our Heroes program is a special way to honor the service of our deceased veterans. We bring a photo of the veteran, a copy of the obituary notice, and a flag of a deceased World War II veteran on a Mission. The flag and photo are placed in front of the World War II Memorial, and a photo is taken. The family receives a copy of the photo and a certificate from Honor Flight Syracuse upon return. We ensure the deceased veteran is shown the highest regard and respect at the World War II Memorial.

On Mission 005, we recognized 56 deceased veterans with this honor, including 51 from Cazenovia. A special ceremony was held by Cazenovia American Legion Post 88 on Father’s Day, with the certificates presented to the families by Thomas Shaw, an Honor Flight Syracuse board member and Flags of our Heroes lead.

To read more about this special event, view this article in the Cazenovia Republican. If you would like to have a deceased veteran honored on an upcoming mission, please email

Honor Flight Syracuse Runs the Corporate Challenge!

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Our busy month of June continued with our participation in the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. Chase selected Honor Flight to be the beneficiary of the Challenge and we were thrilled to be chosen! Board member Phil Fazio joined Chase executives on stage to start the race, and veterans Joe Sgambati and Chet Benoit, both mission alumni, held the finish line tape as the runners crossed.

Thanks to J.P. Morgan Chase for their generous donation of $20,000 to Honor Flight Syracuse, allowing us to bring even more veterans on upcoming missions. We’d like to give a shout-out to our team of amazing runners who crossed the finish line for the 3.5 mile road race.

Read more about the race here.


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Honor Flight Syracuse at Taste of Syracuse, thanks to our friends at Tops Friendly Markets

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

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Tops Friendly Markets has been a longtime supporter of Honor Flight Syracuse. Kathy Allen, community relations manager for Tops, has championed our mission and even joined us as a Guardian on Mission 004. Tops generously provides all the goodies in the backpacks our Veterans and Guardians receive on mission day, a contribution that makes the day even more special for our Veterans.

We were thrilled when Tops Friendly Markets selected Honor Flight Syracuse to join them at the Taste of Syracuse event held June 5th – 6th in Downtown Syracuse. This iconic summer kick-off event for Central New York attracts thousands of people to enjoy tastes of food from some of CNY’s hottest kitchens. In addition to sharing the mission of Honor Flight Syracuse and recruiting more veterans to join us on upcoming missions, Tops generously donated all the proceeds from their food and water sales for the event. This totaled over $16,000 and we are so grateful to Tops for helping us continue our mission!

Many thanks to the Honor Flight Syracuse volunteers and veterans, and to the tremendous Tops staff, for joining us at the booth. And thank you to all who stopped by to visit – we loved hearing your stories and sharing the memories of our veterans.

Check out some photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Mission005 Success!

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

On April 25, Honor Flight Syracuse Mission 005 launched from the Syracuse Airport with 81 veterans from World War II and the Korean War. The average age of our veterans on this trip was 91, and for the first time, we brought TWO married veteran couples with us.

In addition to visiting the World War II Memorial, where we all gathered for a group photo, we stopped at the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. We drove by the Iwo Jima Monument and Navy Memorial, with a quick stop at the Air Force Memorial. We ran into a very special guest at the Changing of the Guards at Arlington National Cemetery – many of our veterans had the opportunity to shake hands with General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff! General Dempsey shared a few words of appreciation with our veterans, who were very moved to have met him.

Our Welcome Home Celebration was perhaps the largest we have had yet, so many thanks to all the family and friends who came out to cheer us home! Special guests included Congressman John Katko; New York State Senator John DeFrancisco; Dave and Linda Oja representing the Chase Corporate Challenge; Vice Admiral (ret) Robert Murrett; Major General (ret) and Mrs. Robert Kasulke; Colonel Mike Smith, 174th ATKW; and William Burdick, Veterans Day Dinner Committee member.

Please visit YouTube to view and download our Mission 005 video, and check out these links from the Watertown Daily Times and WKTV in Utica. We are grateful to have had representatives from these media outlets travel with us to capture our veterans’ stories.

Mark your calendars now! Mission 006 will be on Saturday, October 3 and we look forward to seeing you at the Welcome Home Celebration that evening!

Honor Flight Syracuse relies on the generous contributions from the community to continue our mission to honor our veterans. If you would like to support Honor Flight Syracuse, visit

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Team Honor Flight Syracuse at the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

What an amazing night! On Tuesday, June 9, Honor Flight Syracuse was one of 278 companies and organizations at the 33rd Annual JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. As the beneficiary of this event, Chase makes a generous donation to Honor Flight Syracuse to support our upcoming mission on October 3. In addition to the donation, the Corporate Challenge was an opportunity to connect with the community and celebrate our veterans!

Veterans Sal Bounocore, Joe Sgambati, Jack Kissel and Chet Benoit joined the Honor Flight team to cheer us on and welcome runners back at the Finish Line. Board member Phil Fazio shared our mission with the participants from the stage – and even got to hit the starting bell! And our dedicated team of 8 runners attacked the course and crossed the finish line.

Many thanks to everyone who cheered us on, supported this great event, and came over to shake the hands of these great veterans. Please head over to our Facebook page ( to see some great pictures from the race! For a complete rundown of the event, see the JP Morgan Chase recap here.


Syracuse JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Benefits Honor Flight Syracuse

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015


On June 9, thousands of runners will hit the paths of Onondaga Lake Park for the annual JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. This 5-k race is a summer highlight for runners and companies alike in Central NY. This year, Honor Flight Syracuse has been selected as the charity beneficiary for this amazing event.

“Nationally, over 100,000 veterans have traveled to Washington, DC by one of 137 Honor Flight networks in the US,” said John Paddock, RADM, USN (Ret), vice president of the board for Honor Flight Syracuse. “We are dedicated to giving our veterans the honor they have so earned. This organization is entirely volunteer driven so we can provide the veterans a completely free trip to visit the memorials, and share memories with other veterans. We can provide this experience thanks to the support of the Central NY community and we are so appreciative of J.P. Morgan Chase for the opportunity to benefit from the Corporate Challenge.”

Honor Flight Syracuse will have a team of runners in the race, as well as a tent near the VIP area to share the mission of our organization. If you are out at the race, stop by to say hi!

Funds raised from this event will support future missions, including Mission 006, set for October 3, 2015. Mission 005 was held on April 25, 2015 and was a huge success, transporting 81 veterans to Washington, DC. Thanks to the generous support of the Central NY community, including events such as the Chase Corporate Challenge, we are able to charter a larger plane to bring even more vets to visit the memorials dedicated to their honor and sacrifice.

TOPS Friendly Markets Selects Honor Flight Syracuse as Taste of Syracuse Charitable Partner

Friday, March 27th, 2015

TOPS Friendly Markets has been a longtime supporter of Honor Flight Syracuse, thanks to their generous contributions of all the items in our veterans’ and guardians’ packs on each of our missions. We’re excited to share that our relationship is expanding. TOPS has selected HFS to be its charitable partner for the AmeriCU Credit Union Taste of Syracuse presented by TOPS Friendly Markets. As presenting sponsor, TOPS will have a large presence at this event and is generously donating all sales from the TOPS food tent and prize wheel to HFS. We’re excited to be joining them for all of the Taste celebrations, to raise funds and awareness about the mission of HFS.

The Taste of Syracuse, CNY’s biggest food and music festival, will be held on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 in and around Clinton Square. Admission is free. We’ll need volunteers on site at the TOPS tent, helping participants spin the prize wheel for a $1 donation and spreading the word about Honor Flight Syracuse.

“Tops has been a tremendous community partner and we are extremely excited to be honored as their beneficiating charity for the 2015 Taste of Syracuse,” said Randy Flath, president of Honor Flight Syracuse. “We invite everyone to come and visit us at the festival, enjoy great food, great music, and learn more about the mission of Honor Flight. The Tops donations from the Taste will help Honor Flight Syracuse continue honoring and transporting veterans at no cost to visit their memorials in Washington, DC.”

“The work that Honor Flight Syracuse does is amazing and truly admirable,” said Kathy Allen, TOPS’ Community Relations Manager. “I had an opportunity to see, first hand, the mission of is organization and the deep impact they are having on the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country. TOPS is proud to support this incredible organization.”

Known for amazing food samples from local restaurants and both local and national musical acts, the Taste of Syracuse officially kicks off the summer festival season in Syracuse. “Food Trucks on Franklin” will be a new highlight this year, showcasing various food truck items you can find around the city. Saturday will feature a “Salute the Troops Saturday” event to honor the men and women who serve our country.

“We’re looking forward to a great Taste of Syracuse weekend,” said Galaxy Events General Manager Carrie Wojtaszek. “No matter what you’re looking for, musically or food wise, we truly can say we’ve got it at Taste of Syracuse!  We’re also happy to honoring the members of the military that serve our country and community each and every day.”

We hope you’ll show your support and join us at the Taste of Syracuse. Stay tuned for more information as the event nears! Plans are underway for an alumni veteran mini-reunion to help kick off the festival.
Kathy Allen and Bard Conroe
Kathy Allen, TOPS’ Community Relations Manager and Bard Conroe, alumni veteran from Mission 002, at the Taste of Syracuse kick off on March 25.