Community support for Waterloo Honor Flight stays strong - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community support for Waterloo Honor Flight stays strong

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

In September 2010, a group of people decided to organize an Honor Flight out of Waterloo -- believing, somehow, they would find the funding.

"At first we thought we were just a little bit crazy. Maybe we were hoping too much. And the people amazed us. And people continue to amaze us," said organizer Janet Liming.

Hy-Vee signed on as a sponsor from Day 1. They were already sponsoring the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight and were looking to do a program in the Cedar Valley.

"This is just something we're really passionate about and really privileged to be a part of."

Organizers received a major donation for the inaugural flight. From that point on, the bulk of the funding came in small pieces, and even now, after five flights, it keeps coming.

There are fundraisers at local Hy-Vee stores.

"We try, for every flight, to do a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and we pack the kitchen. People are more than happy to come out and do anything that they can to support the flights," said Keller.

Some of the most touching donations come from older folks who lived through World War II.

"They may only have five or ten dollars to send. That, to them, is a huge amount because their budgets are so tight. But they send it, because they know how important it is," said Liming.

What you hear over and over is each donor's connection with someone who served in the past -- and how this is their chance to repay, or honor, their loved one.

"That's what drives us all, I think. We all have a story, we all love someone that has been involved," said Liming.

"People want to give back to these men and women and thank them for what they've done for us," added Keller.

Liming said there is funding in place for at least two more Honor Flights out of Waterloo. She added, as long as the community continues to fund the project, they'll continue the flights.

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