Villages Honor Flight Volunteering Info
Villages Honor Flight events are on hold during COVID-19, but if you’re interested in investigating what VHF is about please read on.
Villages Honor Flight (VHF) is part of the National Honor Flight Network, a national network comprised of over 140 independent Hubs. We have monthly meetings at Colony Recreation Center, the second Monday of each month at 12.30pm, although at the moment these meetings are on hold. We have four flights each year to take 65 veterans per flight to Washington DC to show them our nation’s capital and give them the honor they deserve. In addition we have two flightless flights per year for those unable to make the trip to Washington. Participation in an Honor Flight trip gives veterans the opportunity to share this momentous occasion with other comrades, to remember friends and comrades lost, and share their stories and experiences with other veterans. All honored veterans travel at no cost to the veteran.
From a volunteer standpoint, you may attend a monthly meeting, you may volunteer for a job that only requires showing up 6 times yearly for the missions or for just one mission. It takes about 100 volunteers to support one mission, including volunteers to support all the planning and tasks required just to get to mission day. Areas for volunteering include: Pre-flight Operations, Mail Call, Veteran Lunch Program, Flight Assistance (Red Hats, transportation, wheelchairs), marketing, media/communication, and photo support, Guardian Coordination Team and Veteran Coordination Team, Ground Coordination Team, Merchandise Sales Team, Newsletter Team, and Refreshments Team, Medical Team, Speakers Bureau, overall Administrative Support, Fashion Show, and Golf Tournament.
WHERE DO I START?
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Villages Honor Flight! As a 501 (c )(3) non-profit organization, there are a lot of opportunities where you can help.
Many potential volunteers do not know enough about Honor Flight generally and Villages Honor Flight in particular to make a decision about getting involved. A few suggestions:
- Attend the VHF Club meeting and get to know other members. Club meetings are held monthly at Colony Cottage Recreation Center.
- If you would like to be a Guardian, complete the ONLINE GUARDIAN Application and click the submit button. The form will automatically be sent to the Guardian Coordinator who will follow-up with you.
- As a Guardian here’s what you’ll be required to:
- Attend a pre-flight meeting where you will meet your veteran and each of you will receive information and training.
- Attend a Squad breakfast or lunch with your veteran and 4 other squad members. VHF staff will attend to conduct training and answer questions. Veteran spouses or a family member are invited to attend.
- Mission Day
- Be at the American Legion, post 347 early (possible 1am), for a Send Off ceremony.
- Bus to Sanford, then flight to BWI.
- Visit Arlington National Cemetery and view the Changing of the Guard.
- Lunch at the Air Force Memorial
- Tour the WWII, Korean and Vietnam memorials.
- Dinner at Baltimore airport flight back to Sanford
- Arrive at American Legion for Homecoming at approximately midnight.
- Attend a Reunion with your veteran about 3 months later where they receive a yearbook that documents their entire day.
- The Flightless Missions stay in the Villages and lasts from about 9 am to 3 pm. Maximum age for inexperienced guardians is 75,experienced ones 78. No maximum age for flightless guardians.
- Not interested in being a Guardian. Every mission (the flight is one part of the mission) requires many supporting volunteers at flight send-off and a flight homecoming. The send-off is early in the AM (normally about 3AM); Homecoming is late in the PM of the same day. These areas are good opportunities to get involved and to meet others who are involved. Read more about sending off the vets and the homecoming at the end of the day.
- As mentioned above, there are numerous opportunities to help including: baking cookies, assist veterans from parking lots to meetings, loading and unloading wheelchairs, helping the Medical folks, escorting veterans and their spouses/family to their seating area, data entry, serving coffee … and many more….
- Get familiar with our terminology read VHF Vocabulary .
- Read about VHFhistory.
- If you have particular questions, check out the Contact page and contact one of the VHF Staff.
There are several levels of volunteering to suit your available time, to serve and honor our veterans from 5 counties – Lake, Sumter, Marion, Citrus, & Hernando. Call 352-432-1382 for information or attend one of the monthly meeting to meet the other members of the organization.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VETS, and it is extremely rewarding to see the appreciation on their faces.
We appreciate volunteers more than we can say.