The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, has donated $125,000 to the Midwest Honor Flight organization to sponsor 83 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans for an all-expenses-paid flight to visit the nation’s capital. The sponsored flight in September will allow veterans and guardians to fly to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honoring their service and sacrifice.
“We are thrilled to have Smithfield Foods sponsor a flight in-full for our veterans who are so deserving of this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Aaron Van Beek, volunteer president and director of Midwest Honor Flight. “This is a way to show our appreciation and say thank you to those who served, and we are grateful to Smithfield for showing their support and gratitude for military veterans in such a generous way.”
Smithfield's donation will sponsor the fifth-ever flight for the Midwest Honor Flight organization, named “Smithfield Foods Mission 5: 24 SEP 2019,” for veterans located throughout northwest Iowa, South Dakota, and southwest Minnesota. Veterans on the flight will together experience the power and solidary of the Arlington National Cemetery, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the National World War II Memorial.
Smithfield announced the $125,000 donation to charter the honor flight during a press conference at Veterans Memorial Park in Sioux Falls, S.D. Vietnam Air Force veteran Bill Kortemeyer was a featured speaker, sharing his firsthand experience as a Midwest Honor Flight recipient in 2018. Beginning this month in July, Smithfield-sponsored honor flight recipients will be notified to prepare for the tour to Washington, D.C.
“Part of Smithfield’s social purpose is to honor those who have dedicated themselves in service to our country,” says Mark Wiggs, plant manager at Smithfield Foods’ Sioux Falls facility. “We strive to make sure military members and their families are supported, and we’re proud to partner with the Midwest Honor Flight organization to give our veterans this once-in-a-lifetime experience they have undoubtedly earned.”
The Midwest Honor Flight is part of the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
“I will never forget my Honor Flight experience,” says Kortemeyer, a Vietnam War veteran. “It was an emotional reunion with my fellow servicemen; one which I am forever grateful to have had.”