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Serving Those Who Served Us

UMC recently sponsored a veteran for the Texas South Plains Honor Flight, a chapter of the Honor Flight Network. Doing so allowed George Willis, a World War II veteran, to visit Washington D.C. to pay homage to his fellow brothers and sisters in arms by visiting the War and Service memorials built in their honor.

For seven years, the Texas South Plains Honor Flight sends approximately 120 World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans on this all-expense paid trip. Committee volunteers work all year to raise the $220,000 needed to sponsor the trip, and it’s only made possible by the generous donations of South Plains’ residents, businesses and organizations.

Peyton Oldham, UMC Security Officer, went along on this honor flight as a military liaison. He went in his U.S. Navy uniform and assisted veterans in laying wreaths in honor of their fallen brothers and sisters. He has remained active in this event for 5 years as a way to honor other veterans.

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UMC CEO, Mark Funderburk meeting George Willis before the Honor Flight

Also on this trip was Glen Frick, Senior Vice President of UMC Physicians. He acted as a “guardian” for his father, Virgil Frick, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam.

"It was an unbelievable experience,” Glen said. “I can’t even explain the emotions of going to a war memorial with that many veterans."

He said one of the things veterans do when visiting the war memorials is they “etch” the names of their friends they lost in the war. They take a piece of paper, place it over the name plaque on the memorial’s wall, coloring over it with pen or pencil, leaving the outline of the plaque etched on the paper.

Glen said he would recommend this trip to anyone, but especially to veterans.

To learn about how you can become involved with the Texas South Plains Honor Flight, visit their website www.texassouthplainshonorflight.org, or call 806.790.4635.

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Virgil and Glen Frick in Washington

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