Texas South Plains Honor Flight helping send veterans to DC

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:46 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - For the first time since 2019, KCBD hosted the South Plains Honor Flight Telethon on Friday.

Donations help send veterans to Washington D.C. to see the monuments built in their honor.

The goal for the telethon, raising $150,000 - a large chunk of the estimated quarter million telethon chairman, and veteran himself, Paul Anderson, says it will take to fund the trip.

“It’s quite an experience,” Anderson said. “It’s worth every bit of it. It takes a lot of money because we don’t charge the veterans anything.”

For many of America’s war fighters, it’s a trip to remember, honor, and for some - a chance to heal.

“Some fellas have been closed up about their service,” Anderson said. “They never have really talked to their family or anyone else, and when they get a chance to get with other veterans that went through the same thing, it opens them up.”

Phil Botik, a Marine, was a passenger on the last Honor Flight. He placed the wreath at the sculpture depicting the flag raising at Iwo Jima. He says making the trip to the nation’s capital was a profound and emotional experience, there and at other memorials.

“There’s just something about that wall,” Botik said. “It is monumental I promise you that, and you’ll never forget it.”

Botik says he was able to do something he’d always wanted on the trip, find the name of a dear friend, killed in Vietnam, etched on the memorial wall.

“I put my hand on his name and I swear to God he said, I heard a voice, and he said ‘I’m here, I’m okay, and I’m in a good place, and hey take care of yourself and have a good life we’ll see each other later,’” Botik said. “It was his voice and it just blew me away I just didn’t know what to do. I was spellbound I still am, to this day, I’m emotional about it.

Chairman Anderson is working to provide a similar experience for his brothers in arms.

“We don’t know what all some people are hiding in their hearts,” Anderson said. “But it’s a wonderful thing that we can send these fellas to those memorials.”