Honor Flight fundraiser aims to hit goal

By Chad Weber

August 25, 2013 Updated Aug 25, 2013 at 10:48 PM CDT

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. -- Sunday's event started out much like an Honor Flight.

With the younger generation paying respect to their elder veterans.

And at an event held at a gun range, you didn't have to go to far to find some veterans.

"We've got a lot of veterans first of all in the group," said Peoria Skeet & Trap board member Dennis Kerns. "I think a lot of people are supporters of the military. They much appreciate what they've done for the country and continue to do. So it's just a natural fit for us."

Sunday's fundraiser included a $50 dollar entry fee for shell boxes and lunch, as well as raffle tickets and merchandise.

Organizers hoped to raise more than $5,000 dollars which would push them over their goal.

"All the money we raise today is pure profit that goes to that $80,000 dollars needed per flight," said Greater Peoria Honor Flight President Lesley Matuscak. "The great thing about this flight, the honor flight hub in general is that 31,000 veterans in this Greater Peoria area do not have to travel far to go to the airport to DC and back."

"A lot of them did not get a great welcome home when they came home," said Kerns. "Maybe in World War Two but certainly not in Korea and Vietnam and so they've received that now and it means a lot to those people."

"Soldiers come home, you know they have a lot of people that come out and give them praise and we never had that," said Vietnam vet and club member Mike Walter.

Something the Honor Flight is hoping to correct.

Mike Walter and his friend Steve Ellison are a couple of those veterans hoping to participate in an upcoming honor flight.

"I think it would be a good experience to see and to tell," said Ellison. You know, what it's like. The honor of it."

The club plans to hold the fundraiser again next year, in hopes of showing continued appreciation and support of all veterans.