The 26th Washingtonian Award, presented annually by The Missourian, went to Franklin County Honor Flight.
The award is presented to outstanding volunteers who have made an impact in the community.
The volunteers who were singled out for the award were the founders of Franklin County Honor Flight — Dave Hall, Jim Tayon and Judge Larry Davis, all Air Force veterans.
Franklin County Honor Flight has sponsored 33 trips to Washington, D.C., for about 1,100 military veterans so they can view monuments erected in their honor. The trip and all meals are free to the veterans. The trip is about a 24-hour experience. The veterans leave early in the morning and return early the next morning.
The veterans are accompanied by guardians, who pay their own way. The guardians are responsible for each veteran, many of whom are in wheelchairs.
Honor Flight, a nationwide program, began by taking World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. Now most of the veterans who make the trips are Korean War veterans.
The veterans travel by bus once in the nation’s capital. They visit all of the monuments dedicated to all of the branches of the military. They also view the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns (soldiers) in Arlington Cemetery.
In presenting the award, Miller said the trip is very emotional for the veterans. Many of the veterans have remarked that the trip is one of the highlights of their lives. Miller said that many of the veterans would not have had the opportunity to see the monuments if it would not have been for Honor Flight.
Tayon, who is president of the organization, and Hall responded after receiving the award. They told of the experiences they have had in being involved in the program and the impact on the veterans who make the trip. They also lauded the many volunteers who assist in the program.
The organization has an ongoing funding campaign to pay all the expenses in sponsoring the program.
Franklin County Honor Flight was founded in 2007. Each of the founders received a plaque from The Missourian.