Local golf event provides for veteran experience on Honor Flight
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – A local golf event is working to provide area veterans with an opportunity to experience the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.
“The idea was really from Jesse Jacobson, owner of Marshfield Country Club (MMC.) He had the idea and asked if I would want to do it and of course I said yes,” said organizer Rita Blenker.
The pair designed an event that provides direct funding for veterans through a golf outing.
Through the Honor Flight program, local veterans receive a free round-trip flight, and guardians pay $500 for the opportunity to accompany one or two veterans on the trip. The veterans are selected based on the order in which their applications were received and the conflict they served in. Preference is given to World War II veterans, then Korea Veterans and then Vietnam veterans. Veterans who are terminally ill, regardless of when they served, are given top preference.
“The Honor Flight, I think, is so important. It is a strong way to show your respect for all of our veterans. They should be honored. Just the look on their faces when they return from a flight is priceless,” stated Blenker.
Blenker adds the event is the culmination of a lot of community backing.
“I am the organizer of the whole event but I also have the backing of amazing volunteers, MCC, the American Legion, the VFW, Marshfield Firefighters, the National Guard and of course all of our sponsors. Without them, we would not have the event. Each sponsor pays $500 which is the cost for the vet/guardian to take the flight to DC. So that sponsor knows that they are truly responsible for sending them there. Some sponsors make their sponsorship in honor of a family member who served which makes it personal and special for them,” she explained.
“Over the past four years of holding the event we have raised just over $44,000. This year is going to be record breaking. The National Guard is bringing out the big cannon again to give us our shotgun start.”
The event will be held July 16, with an 11 a.m. shot-gun start at MMC, 11426 Wren Rd., Marshfield.
“During the events there are usually a few vets that come to just hang out with us and tell us their stories. The day is truly special and heartwarming,” Blenker added.
To register for the outing, contact MCC at 715-384-4409 or Century 21 at 715-387-2121.
Veterans and guardians interested in taking a future Honor Flight must complete an application at www.neverforgottenhonorflight.com or contact 715-573-8519.