The Western North Dakota Honor Flight is planning to take off and land in Washington D.C. once again, but this time with a larger capacity. The inaugural flight took off in April carrying more than 90 veterans to the nation’s capital. Now organizers say there is a greater mission to be filled, to carry more than 200 veterans and have two flights take off from the Peace Garden State. To meet that need, they are hosting a free-will fundraiser in hopes of drawing in the funds needed to support the cause.

North Dakota veterans Roy Shock, Raymond Fisher, and Edward Dockter all have one thing in common, their patriotism for serving this country.

“I was stationed in Fort Lewis Washington for my basic. I went to Fort Huachuca, Arizona for my AIT and after that, I went to Germany for 18 months and I finished my service there,” U.S. Army Veteran Roy Schock said.

In recognition of their service and dedication, they were each on the first Western North Dakota Honor flight that touched down in Washington, D.C. allowing them to be greeted by current service members from North Dakota and even enjoy a tour around the nation’s capital.

“We have people, strangers coming up to us and asking us if we were on the honor flight and I said yes, we were, and they put their hand out and said thank you for serving our country. That really means something to me,” Schock said.

Memories and emotions were shared with other veterans on the flight as they visited different memorials.

“It actually can make you cry, that’s how emotional it really is,” U.S. Army Veteran Raymond Fisher said.

To continue the mission of honoring our veterans, funds must be raised. It is estimated to cost around $170,000 and perhaps even more with inflation.

“You meet so many different soldiers and they all like to tell you about what they did and how everything went,” Edward Dockter with the North Dakota National Guard said.

One way of doing that is by hosting a spaghetti fundraiser with enough food to go around to feed hundreds. Plans are set for April in hopes of chartering yet another flight. It’s just a matter of support and funding to make other veterans’ dreams come true; especially those who have never been to Washington, DC.

“We’re hoping to serve 350 to 400 people; we just need the funds for the honor flight,” Western ND Honor Flight board member Marty Presler said.

To learn more about the organization and the free-will fundraiser dinner, click here.