Listen to how Syracuse Honor Flight Operations Coordinator Mike Gasapo says the charity is adapting to the aging of WW2 Vets.
Syracuse Honor Flights flies veterans from Syracuse to Washington D.C, so that these heroes will have a chance to see the war memorials built in their honor. Gasapo said how the program was started specifically for World War II vets.
However, according to the Nation World War II Museum there are only about 558,00 World War II vets left in the U.S, with an average of 362 dying a day. Gasapo said the main itinerary of the program is World War II based, so the aging of these veterans has made organizations like Honor Flight think about how they’ll adapt their charity to fit a different demographic of veterans.
“We are considering other options,”Gasapo said “Maybe adding a third flight, maybe doing something specifically for Vietnam vets, but those are all in the planning stages.”
Gasapo said that the organization wants to transport as many vets as possible within the next year or so, however he expressed concern that the vets are aging quicker than the charity can find them.
“We really want to make sure that all of the World War II Vets make the trip,” Gasapo said “We’ve had too many instances where we had World War II Vets say maybe next time, and they have since passed on.”
According to DataUsa, as of 2015 only about ten percent of the veteran population in Onondaga County was World War II vets. Gasapo said that their program will continue to expand and reach out to veterans. So far, Honor Flights has two full trips to D.C planned for 2018.