Community raises money to send Nebraska veterans to DC

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Dozens of Nebraska veterans pouring out of a tour bus ready to take in the sights around Washington D.C. Bennett Chamness from Grand Island was moved.

“I can’t thank the people of Hall County enough for what they did for the veterans," Chamness said.

The Vietnam veteran was selected to participate in this Hall County Hero Flight. It left from Grand Island Monday and returns Wednesday. A full three days for the vets to see all of the memorials built in honor of their service.

“We come from a small, rural area and this is how people really appreciate what we’ve done and every body that’s served in the military in that area and they did a fantastic, first rate job and we’re all so grateful," he added.

This trip was completely funded by donations - mostly from $5 dollar burger sales. Organizers tell me they plan to do even more visits.

“These trips are not just about the veteran they’re about the family member and it’s a healing process for the veteran and the family member. And I think those family members realize and understand so much more about the veteran when they get back from that trip," Don Shuda, Chairman of the Hall County Hero Flight Association said.

Shuda helped start the Hero Flight in 2010. Since then, the organization has raised over $1 million for these trips. They’ve done trips for World War II and Korean War vets. This is the second trip for Vietnam vets this year.

“We know most of the Vietnam veterans came home, some were spit at, some were ignored, they didn’t get the reception other veterans got, this is our time to say thank you, you did your job, you did what was asked of you," he added.

Shuda hopes the next flight will take off next May.

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