Grants Pass, Ore., — “It was really an experience of a lifetime.”
Gordon Hoefer and William Isely only spent two years in the Navy during World War II.
They didn’t know each other during their times served, but say their paths probably crossed.
“For one who was only a third class petty officer during the war, it was quite impressive.”
“I was one of the few that got drafted into the navy if you ever heard of that. I did. hahah.”
The men went on separate honor flights last year.
Though their times served were in different places around the world, and their experiences in Washington D.C. were different, both can agree taking the trip was something special.
“It was mind boggling. We got cheered the whole way through the airport till we got out of there.”
“It’s well worth it. I had not seen the memorials, they were quite impressive.”
Hoefer had been once before, but at 90 years old he knew he had to go again before it was too late.
Age is a big factor in long trips, and the age of local veterans is one of the reasons the Southern Oregon Honor Flight hub in Grants Pass is closing it’s doors.
“We thought the last flight last fall that Bill was on would be our last one because we were running out of applications.”
With many World War II veterans dying, and ones who are still alive getting to be in their nineties, the demand is just no longer there.
“Going to do one more flight this fall, specifically for our World War II Veterans, they’re kind of a special, unique group of people, and then we’re probably going to shut down the hub.”
That has Hoefer and Isely encouraging all of their fellow veterans to take advantage of the final flight.
“I think they’re a wonderful thing and anyone who is capable of just getting around their own house, is probably in good enough health to go.”