Scott and Johann,

Thank you very much for the opportunity to escort a veteran on an Honor Flight last weekend. This experience was momentous for not only the veteran I escorted, but also for me personally.

Honor Flight did an amazing job partnering veterans and their guardians. While they could not have known we would be instant partners, they looked at my background and partnered me with USMC Korean War veteran, Sgt. Bob Leon. Wow, what a neat guy! He is a stubbornly loving gentleman, something I probably mirror. Now a retired NYC Police Sergeant, he is dedicated to his family and to the Marines.

Bob is 88 years old and on oxygen. He told me twice before I met him he is near death so I thought he was going to be really dependent on me during the trip. He certainly needed my help, however, his independent streak was out in full force. He would rise out of his wheelchair and greet a marine in uniform or simply climb the bus steps. I had to tell our bus captain we were going at his pace, so keep up.

We were in for a huge surprise when we arrived at our first stop. As we were walking up to the Air Force Memorial, I noticed we were being filmed a photographed by what appeared to be a random group of ladies. As I walked by I heard “Dad,” but I didn’t think anything of it. Bob has hearing loss from the war so he was completely unaware. Finally, I heard one of them yell “Bob” and I turned back to ask if they knew him. It was four of Bob’s children who had come to meet him for his very special day. This surprise really made the rest of our trip. My son also came down from Philadelphia to meet us at the WWII and Korean War Memorials. Having both of our families join us solidified an already growing bond.

I have included some photos below. Both Bob and I are incredibly grateful for this special experience. Honor Flight is a very well run organization I hope you will continue to support.

Semper Fi!

Bill West