The Carthage community gave support to three North Country veterans who participated in Mission 4 with Honor Flight Syracuse in October 2014. The men, who fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, were among 60 veterans on the flight from Syracuse to Washington, D.C., to visit the national monuments. Carthage sent their veterans off with a motorcade to Syracuse. Lundy Services Medical Transportation donated a large bus for Carthage community members to be in Syracuse for the Welcome ceremony.
“A couple of missions ago, one WW II veteran went on a flight and he came back and inspired Carthage to get the word out to the veterans,” said American Legion Auxiliary Unit 789 president Deborah Atkins. Informative sessions about the program were offered at the Carthage Basset-Baxter American Legion post 789 and Dionne-Rumble Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7227. The organizations joined together for a fundraiser. They received support and donations from the community and local businesses including Carthage Federal Savings and Loan and Five Below store, in Watertown. “The outpouring of support from our community and their help to get the word out was astounding,” said Atkins. “We do use American Legion and VFW to start outreach. That, in turn, has gotten the word out to others.”
Atkins hopes more veterans will apply for future missions, “Some of them are leery about getting something for free. A lot of them don’t use computers. We provide them with answers, and help them gather together their information and help them submit their application.” Answering veterans’ questions about the trip, providing them with pamphlets, and showing them videos from previous missions during the informative sessions all helps in getting more veterans on board with the mission. Still, for others, Atkins says, the attention is overwhelming, “We have some vets who don’t want any limelight whatsoever. They wanted to make it their own, quiet thing.” Atkins gives them the reassurance they need to make the journey.
After they returned back from visiting the monuments, “Our vets were very thankful for the whole thing. They were happy to see a lot of the veterans and their neighbors there welcoming them home from the flight. It was a very emotional day for all of them,” said Atkins.