Variety Show Sunday, July 10 To Benefit Honor Flight
By: Steve Mitchell
We are losing the Greatest Generation. More than 1,000 World War II veterans die every day. As a way to say thank you, Honor Flight of Northern Colorado is sending these veterans—free of charge—to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial and other sites, such as the Iwo Jima Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
To finance future trips, the Estes Park Honor Flight committee has planned a World War II Variety Show for 3 p.m. Sunday, July 10 at the American Legion that will feature the harmonious vocal trio “The Three of Us.” Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the American Legion or Macdonald Book Shop.
Kara Glover, Cliff Fiske and Sharon Sheets who make up “The Three of Us” donate their talents because they believe in the cause. In fact, Sheets’s father Bill Lee served in the Philippines as a radioman during World War II.
“Dad went on an Honor Flight a year ago last April,” Sheets said. Her father died in July, just three months later.
“For the last three months of his life that’s all he talked about,” Sheets said. “I loved it before, and I love it even more now.”
Sheets said the trio will perform standards that will remind folks of the old days, including “Come Fly With Me,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “God Bless the USA,” “Moon Glow,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Pennies from Heaven,” and “I’ll be Seeing You,” among many others.
The program, under the direction of master of ceremonies Milt Garrett, will honor veterans of all eras and will include a Color Guard, Star Spangled Banner, Pledge of Allegiance and Garrett’s poem “A Toast to the Flag.” Ushers will pass a helmet for donations during breaks in the performance. The Legion will sell hotdogs, soft drinks and beer at the event.
The idea for a fundraiser came from Word War II veteran Bob Brunson. After he returned from an Honor Flight in April 2010, Brunson wanted to give back. Honor Flight had sent 31 World War II veterans from Estes Park, Drake and Glen Haven to Washington D.C. and for each veteran, it costs an estimated $1,000 for a chartered aircraft, deluxe tour bus service, lodging and meals.
“It was a gift of generosity of many individuals and organizations,” Brunson said. “We were given World War II veteran’s hats and t-shirts, and were greeted and thanked many times by other visitors to the Mall.”
Honor Flight also provided wheelchairs, oxygen and personal guardians, who pay $900 out of their own pocket for the privilege of moving the veterans on and off the planes and buses, and accompanying them to the memorials. Brunson said he “clicked” with his guardian Wendy Ball and they soon became fast friends. After the veterans returned from Washington D.C., Honor Flight threw them a picnic and gave them memorial quilts.
Brunson planned to raise money for Honor Flight by skydiving on his 90th birthday (like he did on his 80th) with his guardian Wendy Ball, Honor Flight President Stan Cass and anyone else he could talk into it. But a sudden health setback stymied his plans.
However, fellow veterans Vern Mertz and Gary Brown wouldn’t let the idea die. They met with Brunson in rehab and came up with the idea for a variety show. The Honor Flight fundraiser snowballed from there.
“All the credit goes to the guys who are doing all the work,” Brunson insisted, not wanting to take any of the credit.
The Estes Park Honor Flight Committee includes Vern Mertz, Gary Brown, Milt Garrett, Bob Brunson, Jay Harroff, Carey Stevanus, Jim Heaberlin, Steve Mitchell, Dink Oversteg, Bill King, Bob Citta, Bob Litherland, Les Foiles, Amy Grewe, Jacquie Halburnt, Lee Wicks, Skip Oxander, and Tom and Kathy Steinbach.
Sponsors of the event gave a $250 contribution or more as well as donations of time and materials. They are:
Allnutt Funeral Home
American Legion Post #119
Big O Tires
Broman, Richard & Marjorie
Brown, LTC (Ret.), Gary R.
Carver, Norm & Red
Chrysalis at the Stanley Hotel
Estes Park News
First National Bank of Estes Park
Garrett Group International
Good Samaritan Society – Estes Park Village
Gordon, Ron & Vivian
Heaberlin, Jim & Joann, Honor Flight Secretary
Johnson Lt. Col. (Ret.), Loren and Lynette
Knights of Columbus
Louisville Dental Associates
iii image inhancement, Jon & Marsha Sypher
Longs Peak Rotary Club
Prudential Team Realty/Jay Harroff
Rambos Longhorn Liquors
The Water Man/Create-A-Cut, Mike and Laura Miller
Town of Estes Park
YMCA of the Rockies