$83,000 donation funds next honor flight - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

$83,000 donation funds next honor flight

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MARION, Ill. -- The Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois received a big donation on Friday while announcing the date of their fifth flight to Washington D.C. 

A local resident wrote out an $83,000 check to cover the entire cost of the trip.

Mary Nell Chew is not a veteran. She came down to southern Illinois for school more than 60 years ago and now is giving back to the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. 

"I had applied to be a guardian, but I'm too old," Nell Chew said while laughing. 

Unlike most, the decline she received from the Honor Flight made her want to be more involved. 

"I thought, what a wonderful way to honor them and to have about 90 people enjoy a wonderful day in Washington," Nell Chew said. 

So instead of being a guardian, Nell Chew wrote the $83,000 check, something that will help veterans like Ed Pool experience their first honor flight. 

"I never figured I would have a chance to go," Pool said. 

After Friday's donation, Pool said he's already started to think about the conversations he and other veterans will have on the plane. 

"We will talk about what service we were all in and when and where all the things happened," Pool said. "I have a few stories I would like to tell myself and I'm sure others do too."

For veterans like Virgil Lukens, who went on his first honor flight last April, he is amazed by Chew's act of kindness.

"Unbelievable," Lukens said. "I mean every veteran should have the opportunity to go."

The Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois board says they expect at least 85 veterans on their next flight on May 14.

Click here to visit the Honor Flight's website.

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