Organizers of an Honor Flight hub from the Albany area have stepped up to take care of the 30 World War II veterans who were left on a waiting list when Honor Flight Buffalo announced in late January that it is dissolving.
The Leatherstocking Honor Flight hopes to develop a new group of volunteers to operate Honor Flights from Buffalo and fly the veterans to Washington to visit the major monuments.
Greg Furlong, president of the Leatherstocking Honor Flight, mentored the founders of Honor Flight Buffalo when it began in 2010, said Lisa Wylie. Wylie was president of Honor Flight Buffalo, which is disbanding due to time demands on Wylie, her sister Jo-Anne, who was vice president, and other members of the board.
The Leatherstocking organizers plan to arrange a flight in the spring from Buffalo Niagara International Airport for the World War II veterans on the Buffalo waiting list, calling on Buffalo volunteers, said Furlong. “Our first and foremost mission is to get those vets down to Washington on an Honor Flight,” he said. He admitted that flying veterans out of an airport across the state is “a little bit outside the box,” but is confident his group of a dozen dedicated volunteers can do it.
At the same time, Furlong said, “We plan to put in place an organization in Buffalo that is going to carry the torch. So we’ll do as little or as much as needed to accomplish that.” Furlong said he already has made some contact with possible Buffalo organizers and volunteers, including members of the Patriot Guard Riders. “My end goal is in September I want to be out in Buffalo watching a flight go off that local people put together,” he said.
Anyone who wishes to assist the group may contact Furlong at firstname.lastname@example.org.