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Salt River part of effort to let veterans go on Honor Flight

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 They manned anti-aircraft guns at Pearl Harbor, slogged ashore under devastating fire at Normandy and fought their way up Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima...before modestly returning home to resume their civilian lives.

Today, veterans fortunate to have survived World War II’s carnage are in their 80s and 90s and many of them have never had the chance to see the memorial their grateful nation erected in 2004 to honor them.

That’s why Salt River Electric and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperative have joined with the Bluegrass Chapter of the Honor Flight Network to sponsor  a flight for a few of these veterans on Saturday Oct. 22.

Salt River Electric and other Kentucky co-ops are paying to fly 35 World War II vets, including one from each of East Kentucky Power’s 16 member cooperatives, from Louisville to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial.

Special volunteers representing Salt River and the other co-ops will accompany the vets as guardians in order to ease their travel and assist them in any way possible.

These gave men and women risked their lives and endured untold suffering on our behalf so that we could enjoy the freedoms that are too often taken for granted today,” said Randy Burba, Vice President of Customer Service and Marketing at Salt River. “Sponsoring this trip is one small way we can thank these true heroes for all they sacrificed.”

The veteran chosen to represent Salt River included Charles W. Holderman, a life-long resident of Washington County and a member of the U.S. Army’s 172nd Infantry Combat Team during World War II. He will be assisted during his rip by his daughter-in-law, Kathy Holderman.

The honor flight program is part of a larger national network that has 106 chapters in 38 states. The inaugural honor flight took place in 2005, when six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio and included 12 veterans. The network was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain who wanted to honor our veterans.

“The stories of these veterans are some of the most remarkable in the history or our country and the entire world,” said Burba. “It would be nice if all of them could get to Washington, D.C. to see their beautiful memorial, but hopefully this small effort will remind them how much this nation appreciates them and why their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”