Local doctor, Dr. Roger Kilfoil Jr., the new medical liaison for Honor Flight Long Island, recently volunteered his time and knowledge to bring local veterans and heroes from WWII to the World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA. Kilfoil Jr., whose office is located in Baldwin, along with the all-volunteer Honor Flight Long Island family, including Vice President Roger Kilfoil Sr., members of the Honor Flights Board of Directors Jeff Rosenking, Frank Bania and Raymond Geminski, and Suffolk County Police Department Officer Alexandra Deleonardo, traveled to the museum in early December.
Veterans Armand T. of Hicksville, Frank A. of Deer Park, who celebrated his 95th birthday while there, Richard H. of Syosset, Mac L. of the Bronx, Edward L. of Port Jefferson, David M. of Baldwin, Bernard R. of Bethpage and Carmelo T. of Brooklyn were flown to New Orleans under a Jet Blue program and revisited memories of their time spent defending international freedom.
Kilfoil Jr. expressed how honored he felt to sit with and listen to stories shared by these men.
“Taking these men to see the museum built in their honor was an amazing experience and I have been blessed to have the privilege to be part of it,” he said.
Seeing the faces of these men in the museum and listening to them retell their stories of peacekeeping is why advocacy groups like Boots on the Ground NY step up to assist in fundraising sharing the costs for these excursions. Frank Bania, a board member of Honor Flight Long Island, is also the force behind and founder of Boots on the Ground NY whose personal mission is to “Leave No Veteran Behind.” Kilfoil, Bania and the other chaperons pay their own expenses for the privilege of escorting these WWII heroes to the National World War II Museum. They are treated to the Jet Blue flight, a tour bus, the museum’s PT-305 boat ride, meals and a USO type Dinner Dance Show.
Although this trip was not an Honor Flight Long Island event, it was organized by volunteers that also volunteer with Honor Fight Long Island. These volunteers encourage any financial support, large or small, for the Honor Flight Long Island’s mission. Donations can be made on their website, honorflightlongisland.org, or by mailing a donation in care of: Dr. Roger Kilfoil, 830 Atlantic Ave., Baldwin, NY 11510.
Honor Flight Long Island flies Long Island heroes to Washington DC twice a year. Anyone can help sponsor a veteran on the next Honor Flight excursion. They visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial located in Washington DC, and the veterans always experience the “Changing of the Guard” at Arlington National Cemetery. This ceremony takes place 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and has done so without disruption since 1937.