Central Missouri Honor Flight took 64 veterans to visit national memorials dedicated to their service on Tuesday, despite the government shutdown. Later that night, the veterans returned home with the guide of the Patriot Guard to a crowd of family members and friends.
Dane Gregg served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. When he came home, he saw the support of family members and friends, all wearing blue shirts stating “Team Dane.” The shirts were made to support their vet who has survived two heart attacks and is currently battling cancer.
“I get amazed,” Gregg said. “I see somebody walking through Walmart or even over in Columbia I see people with Team Dane shirts.”
Gregg had two heart attacks last August and when tests were ran the family found he had cancer in his esophagus.
Jackie Gregg is Dane’s wife of 30 years. She said his inspiration stretches beyond his service to his country.
“I’m proud not just because he’s my husband,” Jackie said. “He’s battled two heart attacks and cancer and still gets up and goes to work. He’s an inspiration to all.”
Veterans like Gregg have been going on Central Missouri Honor Flights since the program began in 2009. According to President Mary Paulsell, the organization has raised nearly $2 million in the five years it has been in operation.
Paulsell believes it shows just how strong veteran support is in mid-Missouri.
“This is a testament to the respect in which these veterans are known and how grateful the people of mid-Missouri are for their service,” Paulsell said. “This is an expression of gratitude that’s long overdue. It’s now time to say thank you to them.”
Central Missouri Honor Flight plans to make its next trip to Washington D.C. in November.