BHCGA kills reconsideration of Honor Flight funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

BHCGA kills reconsideration of Honor Flight funding

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The word from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association is final -- the Sullivan Hartogh Davis Honor Flight out of Waterloo will not receive funding from the BHCGA.

In January, the Board of Directors turned down the initial application from the Honor Flight. At that time, a member of the board put in a request to reconsider. Thursday, the board's president, Don Hoth, said a committee decided to withdraw that request to reconsider.

It's an understatement to say, Honor Flight organizer Craig White is disappointed with the BHCGA.

"Shame on you, shame on you," he said. "There are probably a few, I know there are a few that would have voted in favor or it. But the rest of them know who they are, and they don't have the guts to serve their country like these men did, or the guts to do what's right."

The group's president, Don Hoth, turned down our request for an interview, saying Thursday's press release is the final word on the matter. The release states, this application simply does not meet the guidelines.

Craig White, on the other hand, is betting this will mark the final time many veterans visit the Isle Casino.

"I will be going to every veterans club, suggesting they rent a bus and go to Tama," he said.

The BHCGA press release noted, the group does work to serve the needs of veterans and their families -- including a $1 million contribution in 2006 to the Sullivan Brothers Memorial Veterans Museum.

But White believes, the $200,000 requested by his group is not much to ask, and would have a huge impact on the remaining, living, World War II veterans.

"You think those vets stayed within the guidelines when they served their country? They stepped outside those guidelines all the time so we could live the way we are now," White noted.

The Waterloo-based Honor Flight does have three flights scheduled, starting in the spring. Besides the many private donors, Kwik Star has offered to help fundraise for the flights.

Here is the full statement from the BHCGA:

"At the request of a committee of the Black Hawk County Gaming Association (BHCGA) board, the request for reconsideration of the Honor Flight application has been withdrawn because the application does not meet the Board's established guidelines for funding. Therefore, the Honor Flight application will not be discussed at the board meeting on February 28, 2011.

Black Hawk County Gaming Association has served the needs of veterans and their families since its inception through various funded projects. In June, 2006 every board member of BHCGA voted to contribute $1 million to the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum to promote public appreciation of our veterans and honor them in perpetuity. The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum honors the service and sacrifice of all Iowa veterans from the Civil War to the present. The development of the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum ensures the stories of veterans are collected, preserved and will be retold to future generations. The award from BHCHA recognizes the courageous men and women who served to defend our freedom and rights. Our board is grateful for the sacrifices veterans have made to keep our country free. We are proud to have made a significant contribution to the museum.

Since 2005, BHCGA has been able to help fund more than 175 projects throughout the Cedar Valley via the partnership with the Isle. Most of these projects have benefited veterans and their families, as well as others.

The Board of Directors of Black Hawk County Gaming Association is working to make the Cedar Valley a stronger, better place to live and work. We believe that certain types of projects are especially effective for this purpose, including projects that: enhance public facilities; create, replace or upgrade substantial capital items; or create new opportunities for economic, social and cultural development. The 16 member volunteer Board of Directors receives many more applications for funding than its resources permit. This forces us to make difficult decisions and means many applications, even ones for worthy projects, cannot be funded."

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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