Honor Flight Chicago's mission is to fly World War II veterans to Washington DC to see their memorial (and the other memorials) and to honor and thank them in the most amazing way. Once or twice a month from April-October, we fly 80-90 veterans and a group of volunteer "guardians" out of Midway Airport to Washington DC. In DC, they get on chartered buses, see the memorials, sometime see a museum, or Arlington Cemetery and then they fly back. On the flight home, the veterans are surprised with a military-style "mail call" announcement, and they each are presented with an envelope of letters written to them (in secret) by their families, friends, neighbors, strangers, school children & community leaders. Most of the veterans say that Mail Call was the most meaningful part of the day for them.
Our L.W.A. member Kimberly been volunteering with Honor Flight since 2009, and this year they didn't have anyone to do Mail Call. In the past, the mail was collected in offices but Kimberly doesn't have an office, so she offered her apartment as the Mail Call Center. They have a team of volunteers that reaches out to a family contact for each veteran. The contact then spreads the word about Mail Call to all of the veteran's family and friends and then those people write a card or letter of thanks to the Veteran, send it to her and she--like the mailman she's always wanted to be--collects the mail and doles it out into a big envelope for each veteran.
Some veterans get a TON of mail. "So far," she says, "I have a couple guys with 50+ pieces of mail, and there are 2 more weeks before the flight, but some veterans don't have any family left and get very little." We spread the word about these guys and volunteers jump in and make cards or write letters so everyone gets a nice packet of mail.
"My mailbox has never seen this much action, and somehow, I don't even mind that none of the mail is for me. If any LWA members want to write letters, I'd be happy to accept them!"
The Honor Flight Chicago Mail Call
c/o Kimberly A.
211 Elgin Ave. Unit 2K
Forest Park, IL 60130
For those of you sending in letters about what you need to do to earn Inklings, this is a wallopping good example. Kimberly, your Inklings (because this is worth more than one) are in the mail, along with some honor flight letters from me.
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters! (Read the full mission statement here.)
Thursday, March 20th
Chicago, IL Fountain Pen Workshop
Chicago Public Library
West Town Branch
1625 W. Chicago Ave. 6:30-7:45 pm
RSVP required: Please call to 312-743-0450 or visit the West Town branch to register.