In the spirit of Veterans Day 2017, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing commends Dr. Beth Hultquist on being chosen as the guardian to a 93-year-old World War II veteran for his Honor Flight to Washington, DC on November 10, 2017.
“I was honored to be the guardian for a WWII Veteran! Honor Flight is a way to give something back to America’s greatest generation,” said Beth Hultquist, PhD, RN, CNE, FastBacc Coordinator, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. “Freedom is not free and anyone who puts on the uniform deserves our gratitude. My years as an Army nurse were foundational to my current practice and I am privileged to be able to pay some of that gratitude forward to a WWII Veteran.”
Established in 2011, Honor Flight Austin is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterans with honor and closure. Their mission is to transport America’s veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. Priority is given to the senior veterans such as WWII survivors, along with those veterans who may be terminally ill. Since 2011, over 2,000 Texas veterans have flown in an Honor Flight Austin trip. Nationally, over 180,000 veterans have flown in an Honor Flight trip since the Honor Flight Network was created in 2005.
On November 10, notably the Marine Corps birthday, Honor Flight Austin transported 16 veterans, three from WWII and the rest from the Vietnam War. Special priority is given to WWII veterans in the State of Texas and Korean and Vietnam War veterans residing within 14 counties of Austin that include: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Gillespie, Gonzales, Hays, Lee, Llano, Milam, Travis and Williamson counties.
Honor Flight Austin was also honored to include in this special Veterans Day trip James Leavelle from southeast Dallas who is a Pearl Harbor survivor and former Dallas detective. Leavelle is the detective in the iconic photo handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald after the JFK assassination.
On the flight home to Texas, the veterans were surprised with a “Mail Call” on the plane. Mail Call is a way for family and friends to express gratitude for the veteran’s service. Since some of the veterans don’t have family it’s important that everyone have something to read at Mail Call. So, some of the nursing students, staff and faculty at LHSON wrote cards of support for the veterans.
“I have family members who have served in both the Navy and the Air Force, and it’s important in my family to remember the sacrifices they made to help our country,” said Ruth Holzman, senior level 2 student, LHSON. “The Honor Flight (trip or experience) is a wonderful way to honor veterans, and I’m so proud to be at a nursing school that is involved with such an esteemed organization that celebrates these dedicated individuals.”
“We are strong supporters of our veterans and proud that Dr. Hultquist is showing her patriotic support of the Honor Flight Network,” said Dean Shelley F. Conroy, EdD, MS, RN, CNE, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. “Many of our nursing school graduates have served with distinction around the world in all areas of the medical field, mission field and branches of the United States Armed Forces.”
Based on recent statistics reported by Honor Flight, “we are losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 492 per day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in WWII. Honor Flight-Austin will continue to do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free to visit their Memorial.”
Help support Honor Flight Austin and find WWII veterans in the State of Texas and those from the Korean and Vietnam War who would like to participate in an Honor Flight trip. To learn more please visit www.honorflightaustin.org