Coastal Georgia Honor Flight
WORDS BY Ryan Glazer
On May 13, Richmond Hill community leaders, Matt Campbell, Buck Holly, and Patrick Kisgen, had the honor of being guardians on the 2023 Coastal Georgia Honor Flight. The mission–to honor our community’s veterans for all of their sacrifices. The group flies heroes (from Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, and other counties as space is available) via a private, chartered airliner from Coastal Georgia to Washington, D.C. The one-day trip visits World War II, Korean and Vietnam Memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, where they witness the famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony, the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima), Air Force and Navy Memorials.
Matt Campbell, who travels often for work, saw a group of Veterans wearing Honor flight t-shirts around Washington, D.C. while walking through the airport. “What a great way to honor their service. I did a little research and found there are yearly Honor Flights that leave out of the Brunswick and Savannah airports,” explains Campbell. “After mentioning the opportunity to a few friends, Patrick Kisgen and Buck Holly, both Veterans themselves, we agreed we would sign up immediately.”
Space priority for the trip is given to World War II Veterans, then Korean and Vietnam War survivors, and Veterans who are terminally ill, from any conflict, get top priority. There were approximately 60 Vets and 60 Guardians (Volunteers) on last week’s trip. Each Guardian is assigned to one Veteran, tasked with showing them a good time, while looking after them. This particular group had one Veteran who served in World War II, a few that served in the Korean War, and many that served in the Vietnam War. “It was a very emotional and special day for all of us. Many of these Veterans have never been to Washington. To see them light up with pride was amazing,” Campbell adds.
“Having the opportunity to experience our nation’s capitol with the multiple generations of men and women who put themselves in harms way to protect it, was something that I will cherish forever,” Patrick Kisgen says about the trip.
The entire trip, including all meals, soft drinks, air and bus transportation is completely free for the veterans. “Through the Honor Flight experience, we not only honored the heroes who served our nation, but we discovered the power of gratitude, camaraderie, and the enduring spirit of sacrifice. It was a profound reminder that the legacy of our veterans lives on in their stories, etched forever in the fabric of our nation’s history,” says Holly.
Upon arrival back in Brunswick, there were hundreds of people with signs and smiles, a marching band, and chants of “thank you” to welcome the Veterans home! It was a mission well accomplished!