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Friday, May 6, 2016

A special thank you to area WW II veterans

Friday, November 9, 2012

(Photo contributed) Standing by the Siouxland Honor Flight display at the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation located just south of Sergeant Bluff, are WW II veterans, (from left) Don Bauerly, of Sioux City, Warren Hobbs, of Kingsley and Ken Lubben, of Le Mars. Joining the veterans are Cathy Moeller, of Sioux City, who organized the Siouxland Honor Flight hub, and Larry Finley, executive director of the Mid American Museum.
Editor's note: This story was previously published in the Sergeant Bluff Advocate (SB-A) and is reprinted with permission. Several local veterans participated in Honor Flights.

Cathy Mueller had read about "Honor Flight" in American Profile magazine.

"I thought it was interesting and I immediately thought of my dad, Warren Hobbs, who is a World War II (WW II) Veteran," Mueller said.

She and her father sent an application to the National Honor Flight Network, Springfield, OH. Honor Flight, a non-profit organization funded solely by donations and public contributions was founded in 2005 and was established to ostensibly take veterans of WW II to Washington, D.C. to the WW II Monument that was built in their honor.

"After visiting with the person in charge of the Honor Flight in Omaha, Neb., I discovered someone needed to form a hub here in Siouxland. It needed to be done quickly," Cathy said, "because the fact of the matter is we were losing these "silent heroes" at the rate of 1,200 a day."

"In the early going, I faced obstacles, but that only made me more determined to see this dream come true," she said.

The area woman went about presenting her case to the public at large.

"After all," she said, "putting this together would be a way for Siouxland to say "Thank You" not only to my Dad and his comrades, but also every WW II Veteran. They gave all as very young men and women so that we could live in a free country."

Cathy set out to provide an all-expense paid, one-day trip into their past to visit the WW II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It seemed like such a small token for what they did then and for what we have now," Mueller said.

In visiting with the SB-Advocate, Cathy talked about the war years and what she gathered from veterans of that era.

"Here we were in a World War, but at home here in the U.S., people were one, together. While our men and women service members were engaged in the turmoil of wartime, people here were safe and thankful for that fact, too."

Cathy accomplished what she was told would be impossible, and the first Siouxland Honor Flight took place in 2008.

It was one of three memorable flights to Washington, D.C. and back. It was America at Her best.

At the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation, just outside Sergeant Bluff, a permanent remembrance will be on display on the history of the Siouxland Honor Flights.

As for Cathy, she said she "just wanted to give something back to those who sacrificed so much for our freedom -- yours and mind. Little did I know," she continued, "that the Honor Flight would grab my heart and not let go until I formed the Siouxland hub. I quickly realized that honoring WW II veterans was my destiny and it became my passion."

There was and is a lot more to the Siouxland Honor Flights.

The contributions from groups and organizations, the volunteer Guardians who paid their own way to accompany the Veterans, and the medical personnel who also were part of the journeys all contributed..

The SB-Advocate's Wayne Dominowski accompanied the Veterans on the first Honor Flight, and when he returned, Wayne put together a three part series that was sent to area newspapers in Le Mars, Kingsley, Moville and other neighboring towns.

Oh yes, and don't forget Our Veterans. Please let them know you appreciate what they did for Our Nation. Please say, Thank You.

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