Jackson Oaks resident receives a hero’s welcome on Honor Flight
Joe Hargrove, 91-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, left his home at Holiday Retirement’s Jackson Oaks in Paducah, Kentucky, for the ride of his life, traveling to Washington, D.C., as part of an Honor Flight program.
Honor Flights are organized by nonprofit organizations dedicated to transporting U.S. military veterans to see the memorials of the respective wars they fought, at no cost to the veterans.
While Honor Flight recipients usually visit many, if not all, of the capital’s war memorials during their trip, as a World War II veteran, the submarine gunner’s first stop in Washington was the National World War II Memorial. The visit to this monument was an emotional one for Joe, and it unsurprisingly became his favorite.
For veterans, Honor Flights are much more than simply a free trip to visit the nation’s capital and war monuments. It’s an opportunity for friends and family of these brave men and women to honor and express gratitude for the service and sacrifice they provided for our country.
One of the more unique aspects of the Honor Flight trip was “Mail Call,” which came as a surprise to the veterans. On the flight to Washington, Joe received two giant envelopes bursting with more than 80 individual pieces of mail thanking him for his service. Joe received letters and cards from his family members and church community as well as Holiday Retirement residents and employees.
Jackson Oaks enrichment coordinator Denise Rupp worked within the Paducah retirement community to collect cards and letters from residents and staff. Residents and employees from other Holiday Retirement communities were so excited to hear about Joe’s Honor Flight that they sent along their gratitude as well. With such an outpouring of support and thanks from Holiday’s senior living communities, it’s no surprise that Joe received the most mail out of all the Honor Flight recipients!
While Joe’s favorite part of his Honor Flight trip was the World War II Memorial, for his fellow residents and staff at Jackson Oaks, their favorite memory will be the ear-to-ear smile on Joe’s face when he returned home, explained Rupp.
Joe’s heartwarming story is only one of many across the country. To learn more about Holiday Retirement’s commitment to veterans, start by getting in touch with us today!