98-year-old WWII Largo veteran chosen to travel to D.C. to see war memorial

Willard Hanson and two other veterans, aged 89 and 88, all reside at The Palms of Largo assisted living community. Now the trio is gearing up for a one day trip to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
(PR NewsChannel) / September 15, 2011 / LARGO, Fla. 

Today they live at the Royal Palms Senior Living community on The Palms of Largo campus.  But back in the 1940s, they were serving in World War II and risking their lives in order to protect the United States of America from tyranny and oppression spreading throughout Europe.

Now, Willard Hanson, 98, Marjorie Hoffs, 89, and Frances Schlact, 88, are getting ready for a trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C. to visit the National World War II Memorial constructed in their honor. Hanson served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army Air Corp while Hoffs and Schlact both served as nurses for the Army, each earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

They will be flown, at no charge, on September 20, accompanied by 71other WWII veterans and their guardians from the Honor Flight West Central Florida regional hub (HFWCF).

Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans, is assisting the surviving veterans in traveling to see the World War II Memorial as an ultimate thank you for the service they provided.

“I willingly served my country then and I’d make the same decision again,” said Hanson “I’m humbled to be chosen to visit the memorial but I’m more excited for the chance to see my brothers again,”

Honor Flight Network has been flying veterans to Washington since 2005 and has flown nearly 20,000 WWII veterans to Washington to see the memorial that was dedicated in May of 2004.

The veterans are chosen mainly based on age and their ability to fly. In an attempt to aid as many veterans as possible, the selection starts with the oldest that are still physically able. There are nine other residents at the Royal Palms Senior Living community whose names are included with approximately 7,000 other veterans on the nationwide waiting list.

The trio will leave on an Allegiant Airways flight from the St Petersburg/Clearwater airport on the morning of the 20th. They will be provided a meal before visiting the memorial where there will be a ceremony and photo opportunities including all veterans.

Previous Honor Flight trips have also included trips to the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials as well as the Lincoln Memorial depending on the size of the group and time constraints. The group will fly back to St. Petersburg, arriving around 7 p.m.

The general public is encouraged to greet the veterans at the airport if they would like to show their support and thanks.

All flights are free for the veterans as the Honor Flight Network relies on donations and partnerships in order to assist the veterans in their travel. The HFWCF has garnished support from Southwest and Allegiant Airlines, Brighthouse Networks and TECO among other private individuals and groups to partake in their third flight this year.

About The Palms of Largo: Located in the heart of Pinellas County, the 95-acre Palms of Largo campus offers housing, programs, and services for individuals of all ages. Residents enjoy family and senior independent apartments, assisted living and memory care, a holistic spa and fitness center, an experiential pre-school, home health care and skilled nursing. The intergenerational living facility also features Pearl Essence, Pinellas County’s first ‘women only’ memory care environment at Cypress Palms. The campus is located within minutes of Gulf beaches, major shopping, restaurants, and the Largo Cultural Center.

Robin Katchuk
Phone:             (727) 585-8003
Website:           www.royalsenior.com

Direct link:  https://prnewschannel.com/2011/09/15/98-year-old-wwii-largo-veteran-chosen-to-travel-to-d-c-to-see-war-memorial/

SOURCE:  The Palms of Largo

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