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Local Honor Flight Expands Its Mission

Written By Editor on 7/26/22 | 7/26/22

For over 14 years, Leatherstocking Honor Flight has been taking WW II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans on spectacular flights to Washington DC to experience the memorials created in their honor. 
Trips are free to the Veterans and are funded by donations only. The community has supported us to the extent that we were able to conduct 2- 4 flights per year, barring Covid-19. 
The Veterans return from an Honor Flight with a better understanding of how honored and revered they are and how greatly their service and sacrifice are appreciated by so many. 
We make it a point to let them know that the flights are not just a Leatherstocking endeavor, but a community project sustained by peoples' desire for them to be honored. This broadens and enhances that message. 
We hear it from the Veterans, their families, and their friends how impacted the Veterans are by having been on an Honor Flight. That being said, we will continue these flights far into the future. 
Understanding the power of Honor Flight, we feel that we can do so much more. 
We have formed a new entity called the LHF Veterans Initiative. This new entity, like Leatherstocking Honor Flight, is an all-volunteer, 501c3, not-for-profit. All 
donated funds go to our Veteran projects. No one in our group receives any compensation. 
Two of the projects we have undertaken are the Combat Veteran's Retreat and the Purple Heart Project. Like the Honor Flights, these projects are totally free to the Veterans. 
The weekend retreats take place in the lower Adirondacks at secluded and beautiful lakeside venues. Outdoor activities include kayaking, pontoon boating, fishing, and hiking. Beside being very relaxing and enjoyable, the activities enable the Veterans to bond with each other. 
Saturday evening we offer the Veterans a nice BBQ after which they all sit around an all-night campfire and have some Vet-to-Vet conversations. Through sharing their thoughts, they also come to understand that they are not alone in their feelings. 
These retreats are done in partnership with Homeward Bound Adirondacks, an organization with a long and impactful history. 
We do not expect to cure PTSD at these events; if we are able to just lighten their load, our mission will have been a success. 
We conducted our first retreat mission this June, 10-12. The Veterans had a great time and enjoyed the camaraderie and conversations. They were also very appreciative of our efforts and the support of the community. 
Our next retreats will take place September 23-25 and on October 14-16. Any combat Veteran wishing to take part in a retreat should contact Valerie from Homeward Bound Adirondacks at 518 345 0545. 
The other project we are working hard on is the Purple Heart Project. Open to all Purple Heart recipients, it is a trip to the Hudson Valley that includes a boat tour of the Hudson River and visits to West Point, Washington's Headquarters, and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. The attendees may bring a guest. 
The tour will start out with a breakfast in the Albany area where we will board the tour bus for the day. Lunch will be provided and dinner will be at the famed Thayer Hotel at West Point. 
One of our members was part of planning the executing this type of event three years ago and found the mission just as exciting as an Honor Flight. One Veteran told him “this has been a real catharsis.” 
Our first of these missions is being planned for August 20th. 
Anyone interested in taking part in this event should call Liz at 518 339 2464. 
Donations for these projects can be sent to: 
LHF Veterans Initiative 
PO Box 621 
Cobleskill, NY 12043 

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