Grand Knight, Lou Manz, welcomed guest speakers to September's Monthly Social. Joining the Council to discuss the foundation of the Honor Flight Network and First Coast Honor Flight were Retired USMC Master Sergeant Ron Smith, a Founding Pilot of Honor Flight, and Candace Mabry, Fundraising Director for First Coast Honor Flight.
Grand Knight, Lou Manz, Candace Mabry of First Coast Honor Flight and USMC Ret. Ron Smith, Founding Pilot
Attendees enjoyed a meal of pulled pork sandwiches prepared by Ginger Kendrick, wife of our Recorder, Joel Kendrick. Complements abounded for the meal.
At the conclusion of the meal, Ron Smith, a Viet Nam veteran explained how he became a founding pilot of Honor Flight during his time as manager of the Wright-Patterson Aero Club in Dayton, Ohio. Ron, who now lives in Ormond Beach, FL, showed a video of the very first Honor Flight as shown on the Early Show of May 21, 2005. He explained how he and several of the other Aero Club members embraced Earl Morse's idea to shuttle local World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to see their war memorials; something that they might not have been able to do without Honor Flight.
Candace Mabry, the daughter of a deceased World War II veteran said that she honors her father's memory by donating her time and talent to First Coast Honor Flight, our local member of the Honor Flight Network. She explained that FCHF is one of the newest members of the network that was lucky to survive the COVID pandemic; where others were not so lucky.
Candace said that her father was a 4th Degree Knight at St. Paul's Catholic Church at the Beaches in Jacksonville. She thanked our Assembly Color Corps for playing a key role in "Operation Homecoming;" welcoming their flight of veterans from their trip to Washington on September 16.
Retired Captain William "Bill" Kennedy was recognized as August's Knight of the Month.
The Grand Knight wishes to thank our Historical Photographer, Mardelle Wehby for providing photos of the event.