On May 23, 2017, Walter Estes, of Hart Road in Corbin, and three of his brothers, were flown from the Greater Cincinnati-Covington Airport by Honor Flight Tri-State to Washington, D.C. The brothers were part of a group of 72 veterans that made the round trip from the Cincinnati Hub that day.
The brothers were all born in Whitley County, except for Walter, who was born in Harlan County. They are the sons of the late Rosa Lee Worley Estes of Pleasant View, and the late Arthur Estes of Corbin. They also have three sisters.
Sixty-eight-year-old Walter, the youngest of the brothers, was drafted into the Army in January 1969 and was honorably discharged in January 1971. He served during the Vietnam War. He retired from the United States Postal Service in Corbin.
Ralph Estes, who lives in Ross, OH, is 76-years of age and is a retired school teacher. He joined the Navy in January 1962 and was honorably discharged in January 1965. He served during the Vietnam Era.
Cecil Estes, from Hamilton, OH is 82-years of age. He is a retired guidance counselor. He was drafted into the Army in December 1954 and was honorably discharged in 1956. He served in Korea. Cecil, who was familiar with the Honor Flight program, initiated the trip and requested the brothers be allowed to travel together for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
George Estes, who is the oldest living brother, at the age of 84, lives in West Chester, OH. George is a retired school superintendent. He joined the Navy in 1952 and was honorably discharged in 1956. George served in the Korean War and survived Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
There were actually a total of five Estes brothers who served our country. The fifth brother, Arthur “Pete” Estes, who passed away when he was 50-years-old, was drafted in 1951 and served as a Marine in the Korean conflict until 1953.
Honor Flight Tri-State is one of 133 hubs in the Honor Flight Network. Their mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC totally free so they can visit and reflect at the memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of service men and women and their friends. Top priority is given to senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with other veterans who may be terminally ill. All veterans aged 65 and older, who served either stateside or overseas, are eligible. There is a waiting list, however Honor Flight Tri-State vows to leave no one behind as every veteran has an opportunity to apply to be added to the waiting lists.
All flights include: airfare, bus tour, an Honor Flight Tri-State signature T-shirt (which must be worn on the trip), name badge souvenir, three meals, and an assigned guardian on the one day trip. There are trained medics available at all times during the trip traveling along with the veterans in case there is a need. Every veteran travels with a guardian.
The Honor Flight Tri-State spokesperson said there were approximately 4,200 veterans who have flown from their particular hub since 2006. There are usually two flights a year with approximately 72 veterans and their guardians.
According to the main Honor Flight website, in 2016, approximately 20,558 veterans were flown by the Honor Flight Network and 18,202 guardians. There have been a total of 180,261 veterans flown since 2005 and 125,729 guardians. Currently there are 27,272 veterans on the Network’s waiting list to be flown, 2,747 from WWII, 8,507 from Korean War, 15,429 from Vietnam, and 589 other. There are 133 Honor Flight Hubs in 45 U.S. States.
Anyone can become a guardian and fly with an assigned veteran, however guardians do have to pay their own way on the trip.
“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they walk by.”
— Will Rogers
Your donations matter. For information on how you can donate and help make this gift possible for our veterans, go to the Honor Flight Network website at https://www.honorflight.org/donate-now/. Or you can write to the home office at Honor Flight, Inc., 175 South Tuttle Road, Springfield, OH 45505. For more information you may call the main Network office at 937-521-2400.
You may also donate on the Honor Flight Tri-State website by going to www.honorflighttristate.org.
Information on how veterans can apply to be added to the waiting lists can be found on both websites as well.