‘Safety of our heroes comes first’: Honor Flight of the Ozarks postponed until May 2021

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GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — Memorial Day Weekend is all about remembering the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

The Honor Flight of the Ozarks, which takes veterans to see the memorials built in their honor at our nation’s capital, was scheduled to do just that this month. But, due to the virus, it’s been postponed.

The earliest veterans in the Ozarks will go on an Honor Flight is May of 2021, says Flight Coordinator Mike Totten. With May and August’s flights canceled, they considered October a possibility, but Totten says the safety of our heroes comes first.

“Even if D.C. opens up October is still going to be a hotspot. I like to think that our veterans served in harm’s way years ago, I’m not going to put them back in harm’s way just for a flight,” Totten said.

Navy Lt. and Nixa resident Jim Jenkins was a communications officer in the Vietnam War.

“What stands out the most is the friendships that you had, and you bonded with different people,” Jenkins said.

For the Honor Flight, the 75-year-old vet was looking forward to bonding with his three sons, who were approved to be guardians.

“One of them would be my guardian, and the other two would be guardians to veterans that did not have guardians assigned to them,” Jenkins said. “That way we could all go on the same flight and build some memories.”

Staying positive seems to help, especially for World War II Veteran David Schultz. He’s 99, will turn 100 in December, and has been waiting to go back to see those memorials for years.

“It would be kind of nice to go back and see what I saw before, and what I already forgot,” Schultz said.

But some things, you never forget.

“When I went down to get drafted, I said, ‘Lord, I want to go into the Navy, I don’t want to go into that Army,'” Schultz said. “I sure didn’t want to be stomping around in all that mud and fox holes and all of that stuff.”

Schultz will be waiting to get the call to fly again, but until then, his faith and family will help him pass the time.

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