HARRISONBURG, Va., Aug. 28, 2012—The James Madison volleyball team traveled to Washington, D.C. on Aug. 18 to welcome United States World War II veterans from Florida to the nation’s capital as part of the Honor Flight Network.
With hugs and handshakes, the Dukes greeted 25 veterans from Florida and their guardians at Reagan International Airport along with numerous other veterans at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. The team spent time talking to the veterans, listening to their stories and posing for pictures with them.
“Being a part of Honor Flight was such an incredible experience,” said senior Katie Daorai. “The joy we brought to the veterans by simply greeting them was amazing to see. The stories each of them told us were crazy to hear but made each of us truly appreciate what they did for our country.”
The Honor Flight Network works to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their services and sacrifices. The program’s goal is to help every veteran in America visit their memorial. Priority is given to veterans of World War II and will eventually transition to the Korean War, Vietnam War and other veterans who served on a chronological basis.
“Honor Flight is an amazing program and the team is already looking forward to the next time we can welcome and meet veterans in Washington, D.C.,” assistant coach Brett Versen said. “We could never do enough to show our appreciation for our veterans, but the ‘thank you’s,’ smiles and hugs the team did share with them that day were enjoyed by all.
All members of the team along with head coach Lauren Steinbrecher, assistant coach Brett Versen, volunteer assistant coach Kenzie Tonn and student manager Nicole Joenemund took part in welcoming the veterans.
Guardian Robert Rohlfing said, “JMU volleyball was a fantastic part of the welcoming crowd and their enthusiasm was obvious by the way they greeted the vets and engaged in conversation with these WWII heroes—making them feel like the rock stars they were on this special day in their lives. I was honored to be a guardian for one of the vets and can tell you first hand the reception by the JMU volleyball team was one of his highlights of the day.”