Villages Honor Flight veterans receive rousing welcome home despite delay

A returning Villages Honor Flight  was delayed due to Florida weather, but a 2 a.m. arrival did not dampen spirits.

The returning veterans and their Guardians were welcomed home at American Legion Post #347 in Lady Lake.

The Villages Public Safety Department welcomed the bus carrying the returning veterans.
The Villages Public Safety Department welcomed the bus carrying the returning veterans.

The bus carrying veterans and their Guardians was saluted with a water cannon provided by the Villages Public Safety Department.

Because of inclement weather, the ceremony was moved inside the American Legion hall.

The welcome-home ceremony for the returning veterans was moved inside because of the weather.
The welcome-home ceremony for the returning veterans was moved inside because of the weather.

It was a long day for the entire crew, which left the in wee hours Wednesday morning on the whirlwind, one-day trip to Washington D.C. and back.

Ed Ferreira is greeted by his daughters at the National World War II Memorial. Top center is his Guardian, Joyce Cover.
Ed Ferreira is greeted by his daughters at the National World War II Memorial. Top center is his Guardian, Joyce Cover.

Villager Ed Ferreira was surprised by his daughters at the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. during the trip.

The Korean War veteran was among a group that traveled to Washington D.C. on the third Villages Honor Flight trip this year.

Ferreira’s daughters’ surprise visit was secretly arranged by his Guardian on the trip, Villager Joyce Cover.

“It touched his heart as well as mine,” said Flight Director Debbie Diroff of the Village of Charlotte.

“It was a great mission and I am proud to have done it, and I thank all these veterans for the freedom that we have today,” Diroff said.

She noted the mission began back on Dec. 24. In all 97 people made the trip.

The group also took time to remember 19 veterans while in Washington D.C.

“We honored several of our veterans that are no longer with us. Flags of Our Heroes is a National Honor Flight program that Villages Honor Flight has adopted as our own,” Diroff said.

Villages Honor Flight MIssion Director Debbie Diroff gets off the bus at American Legion Post 347 after the trip
Villages Honor Flight Mission Director Debbie Diroff gets off the bus at American Legion Post 347 after the trip.

Those honored were:

Thomas Klier

John J. Seryank

Ben Pennisi

Carlo Macri

Jim A Triplet Sr.

Rosario A. Masullo

Louis Litman

Marlin “Ship” Bliss

Victor Allred Platta

Sydney W. Darrah

Howard W. Phelps

Eugene F. Cook

Louis Taffuri

Joseph. F Bayer

Harry Smith

Lawrence Husk

Martin Antal

William Connors

Veteran Ed Murray, with Guardian Betsy Abshire standing behind, and Veteran Charles Prince with Guardian Marilyn Gagen standing behind him, from left..
Veteran Ed Murray, with Guardian Betsy Abshire standing behind, and Veteran Charles Prince with Guardian Marilyn Gagen standing behind him, from left.

Learn more about Villages Honor Flight at http://www.villageshonorflight.org/

Those traveling on Villages Honor Flight paid a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Those traveling on Villages Honor Flight paid a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Ed Ferreira is greeted at Thurgood Marshall Airport at Baltimore. He was accompanied by his Guardian, Joyce Cover.
Ed Ferreira is greeted at Thurgood Marshall Airport at Baltimore. He was accompanied by his Guardian, Joyce Cover.
A veteran and his much younger Guardian are welcomed home after getting off the bus.
A veteran and his much younger Guardian are welcomed home after getting off the bus.