As the Franklin County Honor Flight set off for its first flight this year Tuesday, April 30, a celebrity was among the 37 World War II and Korean War veterans and guardians making the trip.
The Missourian spoke with Miss Missouri prior to the trip.
Tippe Emmott, Miss Missouri, was making the trip as a guardian for Victor Voss, a Krakow dairy farmer and World War II Navy veteran.
“I thought we would try to get some excitement for the Honor Flight,” said Dave Anderson, who helps organize the trips.
Honor Flight flies local World War II and Korean War veterans for a day trip to Washington, D.C. Veterans visit the World War II memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as Arlington National Cemetery and other war memorials.
Voss said he was excited to travel with Miss Missouri, as well as to see the memorials.
Local businesses donated Emmott’s airfare, gas and funds for lodging in Washington.
“She’s a very congenial person, very down to earth,” Anderson said.
Emmott, from Springfield, said she feels “honored and privileged” to be a part of the trip.
Before becoming Miss Missouri, Emmott was Miss River City, Miss Pulaski County, Miss Springfield and Miss Branson. It was during her reign as Miss Branson that she won the Miss Missouri title.
As Miss Springfield and Miss Branson, Emmott said she met and greeted veterans from the Ozark Honor Flight several times. Emmott would see the veterans off at the airport and welcome them when they returned home.
This will be the first time she experienced Honor Flight first-hand.
“Honor Flight was always my favorite thing I got to do throughout the year as Miss Springfield and Miss Branson. I think it will be my favorite appearance I have made throughout the year,” she said.
Emmott said in the past several years that she “fell in love with Honor Flight,” adding that her grandfather, who she is named after, is a Korean War veteran.
“When I found out he was eligible for Honor Flight, it was the cherry on top,” she said.
During her reign as Miss Missouri, which will end this June, Emmott has traveled all over the state.
She has been to many elementary, middle and high schools to deliver motivational speeches, and has volunteered for the Children’s Miracle Network, which is Miss America’s national partner.
She was a guest dancer for Dancing With the Stars of Branson and was a celebrity reader for Education Nation, which was initiated by the first lady.
A ballet dancer and teacher, Emmott has spoken on her personal platform “Pointe Toward Building Confidence to Achieve Success.”
Honor Flight will be Emmott’s first out of state appearance as Miss Missouri.
“I’m excited to sit down and listen to the stories the veterans have. Seeing the memorials will be really eye-opening, but listening to their stories will be something I cherish the most,” she said.
Voss’ name was drawn from a hat for Emmott to be his guardian.
The Honor Flight group was recognized when arriving in St. Louis Tuesday night.