Concern for older vets’ health prompts national organization to advise trip suspensions
An upcoming “Tour of Honor” trip slated to take 22 local veterans to Washington DC in April has been postponed at the urging of the national Honor Flight organization. According to Bear McGill, president of Honor Flight of the California Central Coast, local group leaders were already considering postponing the trip when Honor Flight National advised all hubs to suspend trips through April 2020. “We moved quickly to let our April attendees know the trip is being delayed,” said McGill. “It was disappointing, but the right thing to do. Most of our vets are of advanced age and their health is our top concern.”
McGill said the group hopes to quickly reschedule the trip, “once we have confidence we can move ahead.” He notes Honor Flight has three additional trips (currently unaffected) scheduled for 2020, along with the anticipated April reschedule. “We’re staying focused — and flexible,” said McGill.
Honor Flight of the Central Coast is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to honoring local veterans. McGill said the latest circumstances are putting trip organizers to the test. “The logistics of planning a trip are pretty demanding to start with,” he said, “and now we are quickly undoing flights, hotels, ground transportation, medical arrangements, meals and ceremonies, along with talking one-on-one with our vets and guardians – all in hopes of a fast reschedule.” McGill was quick to laughingly add that while the postponement is challenging, it pales in comparison with what vets have experienced. “These people may know a thing or two about going with the flow,” McGill said.
The Central Coast Honor Flight Chapter serves veterans from northern San Luis Obispo County through Santa Barbara County, with additional support available to vets traveling from the Santa Barbara area for the SLO-based flights. Nearly 350 veterans from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have made the trip with the local group.