Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are the criteria for WWII veterans traveling on Honor Flight trips?
A: WWII Veterans must:
1) Live within our service area
2) Have served in uniform anywhere between Dec. 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946
3) Not have visited their national WWII Memorial in Washington in the past
4) Be physically able to travel
5) Submit an application to us. Applications can be downloaded from our web sites or requested by phone or email.
Q: How do you decide which veterans travel?
A: Veterans are flown on a “first-come, first-served basis” based on when we receive their applications. Top priority is given to WWII veterans and any war veteran with a terminal illness. Korean and Vietnam War veterans may apply to travel as paying guardians for WWII Veterans, team leaders, as medical staff or volunteers. We have a backlog of WWII Veterans applications and will decide on taking Korean and Vietnam War veterans at a later date.
Q: What areas of Oregon do you serve?
A: Our Honor Flight of Eastern Oregon hub covers all of Oregon east of the Cascades. Our Honor Flight of Portland Oregon hub covers five counties in northwest Oregon: Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Hood River. The non–profit Bend Heroes Foundation operates both hubs covering two-thirds of Oregon’s counties. Other hubs in Oregon cover the rest of the state.
Q: Can spouses travel with WWII Veterans?
A: Spouses can travel with their veterans as long as they can perform all the guardian duties stated on the application form and not require others to assist them, and pay the guardian fee. We know some WWII veterans will not travel without spouses.
Q: I am the widow of a WWII Veteran. Can I go?
A: Widows may travel as paying guardians as long as they can perform guardian duties.
Q: How much does it cost the veteran? How much money do I need to bring?
A: Honor Flight Veterans travel free of charge in appreciation for their service and sacrifice. We do not accept donations from veterans before or during trips. Veterans might wish to purchase souvenirs during the trip. We provide all the necessities.
Q: Can my son, daughter, grandson, etc. go as a guardian?
A: Yes, under certain conditions. Our TOP priority is the safe travel of ALL the veterans. We typically assign one to three veterans to each guardian. Decisions such as who will serve as guardians and how many guardians will be needed are determined by the hub based upon: how many veterans with disabilities are scheduled to go and what level of guardian attention and/or medical support and will they need. Which guardian applicants are most qualified to provide that care? Some guardians will be asked to act as Team Leaders of 6-8 veterans plus their guardians.
Medically trained and other experienced personnel who have previously participated in a flight are given priority and often serve as team leaders. Once we have enough of those positions filled, other applicants are then considered. More than one family member can travel as a guardian on a space available basis. We are flexible and can respond to questions on that.
Q: Can WWII veterans make a donation to Honor Flight?
A: We gratefully accept donations from anyone except WWII Honor Flight veterans before and during trips. We believe that these veterans have given more than enough in terms of preserving our freedoms. This is our way of saying “Thank You!”. Veterans may donate after trips.
Q: What is the departure airport?
A: We fly from Portland International Airport (PDX). We gather at the Shilo Inns the night before flights the next morning to Washington.
Q: I live in Washington and not far from the Portland Airport. Can I travel with your Portland Honor Flight hub?
A: Veterans living in southern Washington should contact the Honor Flight hub in Washington: http://pugetsoundhonorflight.org/, 253-303-1130. We have veterans in Oregon who live 100-300 miles from Portland and must travel to and from Portland.
Q: How long is an Honor Flight trip and what memorials are visited?
A: Our trips are typically four days in duration – one day flying from Portland, Oregon to Washington, two days in Washington and one day returning to Portland. We fly on scheduled airlines. Typically we visit the WWII Memorial, US Capitol, Lincoln, FDR, Korean War, Vietnam War, Navy, Air Force, Marine (Iwo Jima) Memorials, Women in Military Service to America Museum and Arlington National Cemetery (Tomb of the Unknowns). We travel in air conditioned busses.
Q: When do you travel on Honor Flight trips?
A: Our trips are usually scheduled for May and September each year. This is the best time of year considering weather and crowds in Washington, DC. Trip dates are decided about four months in advance.
Q: I applied to travel on your Honor Flight trip. When and how will I know I will travel?
A: We call veterans 2-3 months before a trip to get their decisions on traveling. If the answer is “Yes,” we send a letter to them with all the details of their trip. We follow up with phone calls a few weeks before the trip for updates. Veterans can elect to be placed on a future trip if their health or schedule so require.
Q: Can I visit friends in DC during the trip?
A: Our itinerary does not allow side trips as we are responsible for the safety of all veterans during trips. However friends can join us for dinners at the hotel and elsewhere and travel with us during visits to memorials providing there is space available on the bus. Families and friends can stay at our hotel and pay for meals and accommodations. Please call us to discuss this.
Q: Where do we stay in DC?
A: We stay in fine hotels in northern Virginia. Generally we assign two persons to a room – veteran and guardian.
Q: What about meals?
A: We have breakfasts and dinners at the hotel and box lunches at the WWII Memorial and other locations. We also provide meals during flights. We can handle special dietary needs.
Q: How are you funded?
A: Our funding comes from patriotic individuals, businesses and organizations who wish to honor the great accomplishments and sacrifices of WWII veterans. We also benefit from “in kind” donations from Shilo Inns, Southwest Airlines and our cheerful unpaid volunteers.
Q: What do Guardians do and how much do they pay?
A: Guardians can be family or non-family members. They assist veterans in many ways ensuring their safety: being close by to prevent falls and staying with the group, making sure they do not lose personal items, ensuring hydration and meals, situation awareness, etc. Guardians will receive a detailed list of responsibilities and training before trips. For a four-day trip all expenses (roundtrip air fare, 3 nights hotel in DC, meals and bus service), the current fee is $1,300 and subject to change.
Q: How much experience do you have?
A: At the end of 2013, we have honored 304 WWII Veterans from both hubs during eight trips over the last three years. We have veterans waiting to travel in 2014. A typical trip can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXBWkuMh2v0
Q: What if the veteran uses oxygen therapy or needs a wheelchair?
A: The safety, comfort and enjoyment of our veterans are of the utmost importance. We have medical professionals on our board of directors. Each flight has medically trained staff and medical kits. We are able to safely and comfortably transport veterans who use oxygen therapy and/or wheelchairs and special diets.
OXYGEN — If the veteran requires oxygen therapy, a prescription for the oxygen must be provided by the veteran’s healthcare provider identifying the delivery method (mask or nasal cannula), frequency (as needed or continuously), and the rate of delivery. Veterans requiring oxygen must arrange to bring an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator (POC), spare batteries and a battery charger. We can provide oxygen cylinders for use while in Washington D.C. Oxygen cylinders are NOT permitted on aircraft. Please call Southwest Airlines to ensure you have an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator.
WHEELCHAIRS – A significant number of WWII veterans use wheelchairs. We provide extra wheelchairs in Washington and our busses accommodate wheelchairs. Our trip and Team leaders will ensure wheelchairs are available to veterans at any time they need one whether they brought one or not.
Q: Are terminally ill veterans from any wars given any special priority?
A: YES. Such veterans go to the top of the list for our next Honor Flight trip. They must have served during defined war periods. A letter from the veteran’s doctor must be sent to the hub director stating the veteran is terminally ill with less than a year to live and state any special conditions for travel. A family member guardian is required.
Q: Who is in charge of the program?
A: We are two of over 100 Honor Flight hubs in the nation operating within the national Honor Flight Network: http://www.honorflight.org/
Q: How do I contact Bend Heroes Foundation?
A: Our web site has phone numbers and email addresses: www.bendheroes.org Call 541.390.4231 for more information.