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Honor Flight Syracuse Runs the Corporate Challenge!

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

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!

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

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

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

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.

Thank You for the CNY Veteran’s Day Dinner Committee

March 10th, 2015

On behalf of Honor Flight Syracuse and the CNY veterans we serve, we would like to thank the Central New York Veteran’s Day Dinner Committee for hosting an amazing First Annual Veteran’s Day Dinner at the Skaneateles Country Club in November 2014. This dinner brought in over $40,000 to support the mission of Honor Flight Syracuse. We are entirely volunteer driven and supported. It is only through the support of groups like the men and women of the CNY Veteran’s Day Committee that we are able to continue our mission. Special thanks to the outstanding Veterans day Dinner committee members, and to our keynote speakers –  Dan Cummings from WSYR NewsChannel 9 and an alumni of HFS Mission 4, and United States Marine Corps hero Lieutenant Joseph Owen, recipient of the Silver Star for Valor for combat action during the Korean War.

We are excited to announce that the Second Annual Veterans Day Dinner will be held on Wednesday,  Nov. 11th, 2015 at the Welch Allyn Lodge in Skaneateles. To learn more about the Second Annual Dinner, ticket information or Sponsorship Opportunities, please visit

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Veteran Spotlight: A Long-Overdue “Thank You” Provides Closure

March 10th, 2015

John Wilson Photo

Honor Flight Syracuse offers war veterans more than a free trip to visit monuments in their honor. For many, it provides an opportunity for closure. “It’s a whole package. It’s not just visiting memorials. It’s the genuine ‘welcome home’ you hear from the people you meet. It’s the ‘thank you for your service’. It was magnificent to hear that after all those years,” said 67-year-old John W. Wilson, Jr., Vietnam Veteran with the 84th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division. Wilson was a draftee who volunteered for artillery, following in the footsteps of his father who served in Army artillery in World War II.

Returning home from Vietnam, Wilson faced new battles. There was no homecoming for Vietnam Veterans and worse, Wilson and other vets felt forsaken, “We were made to feel disgraced.” Honor Flight helps right that wrong for veterans. Wilson joined Honor Flight Syracuse for Mission 3, on April 5, 2014. Aboard Mission 3, Wilson, who has Vietnam Agent Orange-related leukemia, joined other veterans, mostly from World War II and some who served in Korea. The 60 Syracuse-area veterans left Syracuse Hancock Airport and were flown to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial, Iwo Jima, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Korean and Vietnam memorials.

“Touching the wall, and the names of my buddies, gave me an immediate connection/flashback to them and the last time I saw them. It was very, very moving,” said Wilson, who made a movie and documented his Vietnam experience in his book, titled, DRAFTEE Summoned to Serve: The Plight of a Vietnam Draftee in War and Beyond. Based on his Honor Flight experience, Wilson urges other veterans to apply for a Mission, “If there’s any way possible that you can go – go!  It is magnificent. All I can do is guarantee that you will be so glad you went. It will be beyond your wildest expectations. It’s genuine, and they’re thanking you for your service.”

Honor Flight Syracuse invites World War II and Korean War veterans, and all terminally ill veterans from any era, to apply for a future Mission. Visit to apply.

Honor Flight Syracuse Thanks: AXA Cares

March 10th, 2015

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Honor Flight Syracuse is entirely volunteer driven, and relies on the generous support of the Central New York community to continue to serve our veterans and launch successful missions. For our upcoming Mission 005 in April, we are grateful to recognize a new corporate sponsor. While AXA has provided strong volunteer support to Honor Flight Syracuse since just after Mission 001, they have continuously grown their passion and support, resulting in a generous donation and recognition as one of our tremendous corporate sponsors.

AXA Cares member Jo-Anne Grigg introduced the company to Honor Flight after coverage of Mission 001, held on October 6, 2012. AXA CARES is one of their many volunteer groups, and is dedicated to supporting military veterans and families. “Honoring the men and women who fought for our freedom brings us great joy and pride,” says Stephanie Nicolas of AXA. “Witnessing their excitement as they depart and return from their memorials will always be treasured memories for our volunteers.”

AXA Cares volunteered for Mission 002 in April 2013, and three AXA employees joined the Mission itself as guardians and a volunteer. Since that time, AXA has developed a great relationship with Honor Flight Syracuse, as we all share a passion for the mission of honoring veterans. Volunteer support of HFS missions continues to grow, and over 50 AXA volunteers supported our most recent Mission 004.

The strength and growth of the partnership is the result of significant AXA leadership support and interest in the mission of Honor Flight Syracuse. Nick Lane, Senior Executive Director and AXA CARES Executive Sponsor, truly understands the importance of AXA CARES as he also served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Steve Walz and Rob Delcampo, AXA CARES Chairs, work tirelessly to raise awareness of the mission and engage their staff in volunteer opportunities. Sue LaVallee, Managing Director; Kevin Nallen, Director; and Laura Whitney, Director, support AXA CARES and the Honor Flight sponsorship. They all feel it is incredible to work for a company who believes in the importance of this cause.

The board of Honor Flight Syracuse would like to thank all the AXA Cares members who make each Mission a success. Without them, this partnership would not be possible.

Carthage Community Rallies Around Veterans

January 10th, 2015

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.

Mission #016
Planned: Apr. 30, 2022
Mission #015
Completed: Sep. 25, 2021
Mission #014
Completed: Sep. 28, 2019
Mission #013
Completed: Apr. 27, 2019
Mission #012
Completed: Sep. 29, 2018
Mission #011
Completed: Apr. 28, 2018
Mission #010
Completed: Sep. 30, 2017
Mission #009
Completed: Apr. 29, 2017
Mission #008
Completed: Oct. 1, 2016
Mission #007
Completed: Apr. 30, 2016
Mission #006
Completed: Oct. 3, 2015
Mission #005
Completed: Apr. 25, 2015
Mission #004
Completed: Oct. 4, 2014
Mission #003
Completed: Apr. 5, 2014
Mission #002
Completed: Oct. 5, 2013
Mission #001
Completed: Oct. 6, 2012
Unfortunately veterans cannot choose what flight they will travel on due to medical and logistic issues associated with the flight process. We also encourage veterans from the Rochester and Buffalo area's to visit and register with their local Honor Flight hubs before registering with Syracuse Honor Flight.
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Honor Flight Syracuse

Honor Flight Syracuse