By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Redmond resident Harl Hawkins served in the military from 1947 to 1969.
“I retired the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon,” Hawkins said.
This year, he’ll travel to Washington D.C. to see memorials and monuments dedicated to his service.
It’s all thanks to Honor Flight of Central Oregon.
“We have a lot of veterans in this community and not having an Honor Flight was a disservice to them,” Dane Prevatt, Honor Flight of Central Oregon’s president, said.
Dane Prevatt took over the organization in 2017. Honor Flight raises money to send 25 veterans to the nations capitol and tour Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon, the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and much more.
“It’s a lot of healing is what I’ve learned over time and through talking to the guys,” Prevatt said. “There’s a huge healing aspect of being with their brothers and sisters in arms at these places.”
This is the first year the Honor Flight group will be able to fly out of the Redmond airport, thanks to an offer from Alaska Airlines. It saves the organization a four-hour drive to Portland and the cost of another hotel.
“A lot of airlines don’t want to fly 56 people on one plane and for just one party. Alaska Airlines stepped up and said they’d bring their Honor Flight plane to Redmond to fly us.”
Right now, Honor Flight only has room to accept Korean War and World War II veterans. Prevatt says they hope to open it to Vietnam veterans next year.
Hawkins, who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, is excited to take off for D.C. with his son James as his helper in May.
“I’m excited we get to fly out of redmond. It simplifies it and I know we’ll enjoy it.”