Blue Ridge Honor Flight Set For October 1st, 2022

The next Blue Ridge Honor Flight has been set for Saturday, October 1st.

MISSION

To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC [at no cost to the veteran] to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.

HONORAIR

It started as a dream in 2005.  Within months, HonorAir was born and became a nationally recognized model for transporting veterans to their memorials in Washington, DC.  To date, HonorAir and the National Honor Flight programs have been responsible for flying over 170,000 WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans to our nation’s capitol to experience their memorials.  On September 24, 2016, HonorAir became Blue Ridge Honor Flight and began the next phase of its mission to bring all veterans to their own memorials in Washington DC.

 

Vietnam Veteran, Bob Smith, USAF; Guardian: Lisa Marie Barrett; Vietnam Veteran Tom Ruppe, US Army

  • If you are a veteran or know a veteran who would like to fly with us, please click here for an application. There is NO COST for veterans to fly.
  • If you would like to become a Guardian (adopting a veteran for a day and escorting him/her to DC, please click here for an application. The cost for a Guardian is $500. This covers the cost of your flight as well as helps provide for all the extras such as snacks, water, etc.
  • If you would like to become a volunteer, please click here.
  • If you would like more information on the Blue Ridge Honor Flight, please click here.

Blue Ridge Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non profit governed by a dedicated, volunteer board of directors.

PTSD Awareness month

Help Raise PTSD Awareness

Currently nearly 8 million people in the United States struggle with PTSD.

*Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life. (*All information was directly taken from the link noted below.)

The help raise awareness click here. June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day.

If you would for us to mail you free ribbon to wear and help raise awareness please email us before June 19th.

 

Blue Ridge Honor Flight May 21, 2022

It was such an incredible honor to  be part of Blue Ridge Honor Flight’s May 21st, 2022 flight to DC as an official Guardian to my veterans Tom Ruppe (US Army), AKA Top, and Bob Smith, USAF. Gabriel Garcia, Chaplain at VA in Oteen was also in our group as a Guardian. He was an incredible blessing! I could not have completed this journey with my two veterans without his willing heart, kind spirit and strength. Both of my veterans were completely mobile but to make this journey more special for them, we gave them first class treatment and pushed them in wheelchairs, gave them personal fans and held the umbrella over them to shade them from the sweltering heat.

Unfortunately, my buddy Terry Anders was called home before I could take him on the trip with us, but I made a promise to him and his family; I would take him with us once Honor Flights resumed post Covid.  On May 21st, I was able to fulfill that promise made nearly two years ago. Flights finally resumed and I brought with me some of Terry’s home going flowers that I had kept from his celebration of life ceremony July 3rd, 2020. I also  made a photo button of Terry in his Army service uniform that I proudly wore throughout the day. It was an honor to carry his memory with us.

Although Guardian training prepared the guardians for the flight, no one could  truly prepare us for the journey we took – the raw emotions; the experience itself, indescribable! The entire staff and volunteers were very professional and thought of everything, from the water cannon salutes, to the welcoming committee and especially the welcome home celebration in Asheville, to the countless snacks, water, and food throughout the day, right down to the honor ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. The Honor Flight program is a “well oiled machine!” Nothing was left to chance.

The day was spent honoring these heroes and recognizing them for their sacrifices. 92 Vietnam Veterans, 2 WWII Veterans,  1 Korean War Veteran, 2 doctors, 3 EMTs, Honor Flight support staff and guardians all boarded the aircraft headed for BWI at 7:30 a.m., and returned to Asheville at 8:45 p.m. It was a long but most incredible day! Getting to hear the different stories, being witness to new friendships being forged, witnessing the countless displays of honor and respect not only given these veterans by the Honor Flight program, but also by complete strangers, young and old. Priceless! I spent the day choking back tears as well as letting them roll down my cheeks as I watched these brave warriors finally get the respect, honor, and long overdue “welcome home” they all deserved.

Even though the entire day was very memorable and there were countless displays of honor and respect I could share, I will say that the most humbling moment was during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The ceremony itself has always pulled at my heart strings, but this day was different. It was more special, with an added display of respect. Since the guards cannot break ceremony and speak with our veterans, they let them know they were glad they were there and they gave them an indescribable “Thank you for your service.” You see, during the ceremony, if you knew what to listen for, you could hear the scrape of a shoe during the ceremony. A respect only given to Honor Flight veterans. As I stood over Top with an umbrella, shading him from the blazing heat, I heard the scrape; a lump welled in my throat, then tears began to fall. What an incredible moment of honor and respect.  I can’t help but wonder how deeply this was felt by our veterans.  I recorded the video and have played it over a dozen times; chokes me up every time.

For more information on Blue Ridge Honor Flight, to apply as a veteran (free of costs), or a guardian, click here.

Tom “Top” Ruppe, Lisa Marie Barrett, Gabriel Garcia, Bob Smith
Special Honor Ceremony at Lincoln Memorial for our group: 54 Army Veterans, 15 Air Force Veterans , 13 Marine Veterans, 12 Navy Veterans and 1 Red Cross Veteran
Top, Lisa Marie and Bob in front of reflection pool at the Lincoln Memorial

 

Selfie with Terry; getting ready to board.
Driving through Arlington (US Army veteran, Tom “Top” Ruppe
Becky Anders being embraced by one of our veterans that was on the flight. This veteran spotted Becky in the welcoming committee holding Terry’s folded flag and his photo. He embraced her with love.

 

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

I am so humbled  by the overwhelming response from our church, our community and our county! In the past several months snack items, toiletries, and monetary donations for postage came pouring in! So much so that we had enough to fill and send nearly 75 packages of hope to our national treasures, our troops deployed around the globe.

Some of these donations went to undisclosed locations in Europe where the American Red Cross helped to distribute  packages of hope to many Soldiers, while others went to undisclosed locations in the Middle East and Asia and some even ended up on the USS Harry S Truman!

It is such an incredible blessing to serve our military by sending these packages of hope. To everyone who gave, THANK YOU!!! This would not be possible without your giving hearts, your compassion and your love for our military.

A very special thank you to my Father’s Vineyard church family, Rutherford Pilot Club, Montford Cove Baptist Church youth group, and Green Hill Baptist Church’s youth group and to all the people behind the scenes who would like to remain anonymous……. THANK YOU!!!

Photos below are a few of the boxes recently sent to Middle East & Asia.

With a grateful heart,

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director

 

 

Support Our Troops: donations needed to send Packages of Hope to deployed troops

We are currently taking donations to send Packages of Hope  to American troops deployed in separate units across the globe. To make a monetary donation, please visit the contribute tab; be sure to indicate what your donation is for.  The average cost to mail each box is $22.00 per box.

Please see the list below for items needed, above all: please pray for our troops and their families. If you are purchasing items, please purchase individually packaged items only and remember to check the expiration dates before you purchase.  Keep in mind it can take several weeks before each unit receives their packages.

Donations can be dropped off at the church office or brought to the church on Wednesday evenings between 6:00-7:00 p.m. or Sunday mornings before or during worship service. Service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Donations for this project will be taken up throughout the month of March. If you have a loved one that is deployed or a veteran that needs encouragement, please contact us at 828-287-2868. It would be an honor to reach out to the them.

Items needed:

  • LETTERS/CARDS of encouragement
  • Carmex or Vaseline in tube
  • Lance individually packaged cookies
  • Beef Jerky/Slim Jim’s
  • Antiperspirant
  • Travel size lotion (unscented)
  • Travel size sunscreen
  • Trail mix/nuts individually packaged
  • Combos
  • Hard candy
  • Vitamin C Drops
  • Cough Drops
  • Powerbars/Kind Bars
  • Powdered water flavor packets such as Propel (individually packaged)

So let your light shine, let His light shine through you as you give and bring light and hope into the darkness our troops face on a daily basis; be His hands and Feet as you support our troops through giving and praying. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Thank you in advance for your support!

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director

 

 

Wreaths Across America 2021: Remember, Honor, Teach

Remember the Fallen…

Honor those who Serve…

Teach our children the value o Freedom…

December 18th, 2021 I had the honor to meet up with the WAA (Wreaths Across America) STAR group at Western North Carolina’s Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC. Our church raised enough donations to be able to place 22 remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country’s heroes.  This was the first year I was able to participate in the ceremony. It was cold! It was rainy! It was humbling!

Each volunteer is asked to “Say Their Name,” before laying the wreath at the grave of our country’s fallen heroes. I knew this going into the ceremony, but I did not expect to be overcome with such emotion as I knelt at each grave or marker and said the name of the veteran aloud. I cannot even begin to put that experience into words.

Since its founding, WAA has expanded to include nearly 3,000 local fundraising groups in all 50 states, representing more than 2,150 participating locations, in addition to Arlington National Cemetery and ceremonies abroad.

Every year since 2008, Congress proclaims a Saturday in December as National Wreaths Across America Day.  This year’s National Wreaths Across America Day will be held December 17th, 2022. There are several different “chapters,” including our local Griffith Rutherford Chapter who holds their ceremony at Rutherford County’s Memorial Cemetery each National Wreaths Across America Day.

I encourage you to find a group near you and participate in this very moving event or visit Wreaths Across America online to purchase a wreath in memory or in honor of a veteran. If you have a veteran buried at a veteran’s cemetery, you can specify to have your wreath delivered there. If you do not know a veteran, please consider purchasing a wreath for a volunteer to lay at the the grave of one of our heroes. The founder of WAA, Morrill Worcester hopes to one day have remembrance wreaths laid on every grave of every hero.

 

Pinnacle Provides – Veteran’s Week 2021

This past Veteran’s Day Pinnacle Elementary School gathered supplies and goodies to help us send Packages of Hope to deployed troops around the globe. The outpouring love and support from the community, parents, students, and staff was incredible; thus enabling us to send over 30 Christmas boxes. Each box was decorated, prayed over and packed with goodies such as hot cocoa, grits, oatmeal, games, Carmex, snack mix, toiletries, beef jerky, frisbees, Kindbars, Christmas candy and various other goodies. We are very grateful for their support and look forward to working with this wonderful group again! Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all… Galatians 6:9-10

Airmen Give Back

Thank you to everyone who supported “Give the gift of time” this past March. With your support we were able to send local Airmen Kip James and his comrades 9 packages of hope filled goodies and a box filled with batteries. They were all extremely grateful and sent us a special gift! I can’t wait to present it to the church on July 4th. I am so blessed to be part of this wonderful ministry and could not have done it without your support! Thank you for giving (Galatians 6:9-10) and most of all, PRAYING! Please keep Kip and his men in your prayers. They’re still there!