Largest Honor Flight ‘welcome home’ to date

Marc Rogers / Journal — Area veterans Charlie Carter and Larry Clark received an enthusiastic welcome home recently after their Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. It was the largest-attended local Honor Flight reception so far.

Charlie Carter and Larry Clark enjoy an escorted motorcade from Springfield, reception in Clinton

CLINTON — U.S. Army veterans Charlie Carter, of Clinton, and Larry Clark, of Maroa, received an enthusiastic welcome home July 19 after participating in a Land of Lincoln Honor Flight to Washington D.C.  Both men are veterans of the Vietnam War.

Carter and Clark received an escort back to Clinton from Spring-field Capital Airport and arrived just after midnight to the parking lot at Cedar Square.  More than 100 friends, family and resi-dents were there to greet them, waving flags and banners.

Land of Lincoln Honor Flight Mission #61 took 96 veterans to visit the war memorials and other sites in Washington D.C.  Of those 96 veterans, there was one World War II veteran, four Korean War veterans and 91 Vietnam veterans.  There also were 82 guardians who traveled with the veterans.

The veterans on the flight came from 65 Central Illinois towns plus one Missouri town and one Indiana town.

Carter and Clark each made comments about how positive they felt about the Honor Flight and encouraged other veterans to participate in future flights. 

After their introduction to the crowd, they were given some items to show appreciation for their service.  Jay Peterson, of Peterson Insurance, presented both veterans a solar night light with a soldier saluting.

The following Battle Cross Crusaders members listed below presented both veterans tokens of appreciation for their service at the event:

• Mike Reynolds and Skip Armstrong, both U.S. Army Vietnam veterans, presented Carter and Clark the paperwork filled out to have their names placed on the Veterans Wall in Wapella for free.

• Leslie Bevins presented a picture of Charlie Carter and Army buddy Gordon Mitchell, for Stan Morlock, who was unable to attend.

• Joann Manley presented a U.S. flag mural signed by all present to Mr. Larry Clark.

• Shirley Carter and her daughter Rhonda Carter presented a handmade sign they made to Carter, which was signed by all present with an army sign in the middle surrounded by pictures of Charlie honoring other veterans.

Both beterans and their families, and The Battle Cross Crusad-ers, thanked the Clinton Police Department, Dewitt County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department, Logan County Sheriff’s Department, Springfield Police Department, Clinton Fire, Kenney Fire, Chest-nut Fire, Maroa Fire, Wapella Fire departments, and the Clinton EMS for their support and participation on the escort home, and the residents, who helped make this the largest localHonor Flight welcome home event to date.

Battle Cross Crusaders offered a special thanks to volunteer Jeff Bowling.

“Jeff plays a crucial role in the Battle Cross Crusaders program, and we appreciate all he does for our veterans,” said Jeff Morlock, DeWitt County Honor Flight liaison officer.  “And, thank you Mr. Carter and Mr. Clark for your service to our country.”

If any veteran would like to sign up for the Honor Flight, or the general public would like information on how to support the Honor Flight, contact Jeff Morlock, the Dewitt County Honor Flight liaison officer, at (217) 853-2530.

Three more Honor Flights are scheduled for this year, on August 30, September 27, and November 1.

Due to privacy regulations, the participants of these flights are not known at this time.

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