SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --- More than 33,000 miles were flown to transport just nearly 1,300 World War IIveterans on 16 Ozarks Honor Flights toWashington, D.C. They were accompanied by hundreds of guardians who paid their own way to go. Contributions totalling $1 million made every trip on chartered 737-800 airliners all-expenses-paid adventures for WWII veterans from southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas.
Hundreds of family, friends and school children also wrote effusive letters of gratitude to every veteran, thanking them for their service and sacrifice, and putting their lives on hold in defense of the United States of America.
One woman played a special role in the financial success of keeping Ozarks Honor Flight (OHF) flying until every WWII veteran who signed up made the trip to their memorial in our nation's Capitol. Gwen VanDerHoef hand wrote a personal note of thanks to more than 3,000 contributors who sent money so those veterans could go. VanDerHoef even paid the postage to send her words of gratitude on behalf of OHF! Most of us doing behind the scenes work between flights did not know that VanDerHoef was taking care of this with her detailed messages.