In the early hours of October 8, 2022, volunteers loaded a trailer bound for Washington D.C. with Drive Medical wheelchairs. That trailer was just a small part of what would ultimately prove to be the trip of a lifetime for the dozens of veterans who would soon fill two charter buses on an all-expenses-paid red-carpet welcome at the nation’s capital.
The trip came courtesy of Honor Flight Pittsburgh, a branch of the nationwide Honor Flight Network, which brings veterans to Washington, D.C. at no personal cost. Since 2005, the nonprofit has provided the experience to more than 250,000 veterans. October’s trip marked the tenth voyage of the Pittsburgh branch, which recently resumed activities after being halted due to Covid.
As part of the trip, Drive Medical teamed up with Pittsburgh-area businesses Root Integration and Washington Medical Equipment to ensure the veterans were prepared for the whirlwind day by supplying them with new wheelchairs.
With the help of their new wheels, the group, visited the WWII Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and other monuments dedicated to their service. Some of the veterans were pushed by yellow-clad “Guardians” as they wrapped up in red blankets due to the cool weather, while others marched on through the day of honor. All were greeted with gratitude for their service.
Back in Pennsylvania at the day’s end, they were surprised by a bagpipe procession and saluted by the crowd before celebrations began. For some of the veterans, it was the first time they had received a proper welcome home and thank you for their service.
All Honor Flight trips are free of charge to the veterans and funded by donations. To learn more, donate, or become involved, visit the Honor Flight website.