Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

Saluting our veterans

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

Year founded: 2008

Executive leadership:

  • Paula Nelson, president, TJ Hale
  • Amy Luft, vice president, Comfort Keepers
  • Ted O’Reilly, second vice president, Aurora Health Care
  • Christy Julius, secretary, American Advantage Julius Agency
  • Joel Skrzypchak, treasurer, Kohl’s
  • Brad Hoeft, past president, Antoine, Hoeft & Eberhardt
  • Karyn Roelke, vice president of public relations

Annual budget: Varies

Lt. Col. Chuck Wallens, who served in the U.S. Army in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, is welcomed back to Milwaukee at the end of his Honor Flight day in April.

Who you serve:

WWII veterans, Korean War veterans, Vietnam War veterans and terminally ill veterans of any conflict.

What you do:

We fly local WWII veterans, Korean War veterans, Vietnam War veterans and terminally ill veterans of any conflict on one-day, all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor, and to experience a full day of honor and thanks for their service. We actively promote educational aspects of this mission in our schools and our communities. We have flown more than 5,500 veterans from southeastern Wisconsin since our founding in 2008.

What you need:

We are a 100 percent volunteer organization with no paid staff and no offices, and more than 96 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to fly veterans. We have a waiting list of almost 1,000 veterans and we receive more applications each week. Donations and corporate sponsorships of our flights allow us to move veterans off of the waiting list and onto a flight.

What makes you different:

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff and no offices. The board of directors of 19 and the legion of more than 250 active volunteers band together to honor approximately 650 veterans each year with not only an Honor Flight, but a full day of celebration for their service to our country. An Honor Flight is completely free for the veteran, and each veteran is accompanied by a guardian who pays a $500 travel fee to offset their expenses. SSHF has recently expanded to welcome our Vietnam veterans for their Honor Flight, and to finally give them the welcome home that they have deserved for so long. An Honor Flight day is a chance to celebrate, honor, thank and heal our veterans, and to come together as a community to truly thank them.

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