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Local World War II vets to be honored

Ennis is rolling out the red carpet for local World War II servicemen and women.
As many as 26 veterans of the Second World War are expected to receive certificates of appreciation at a special tribute ceremony planned for this evening between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Ennis Country Club. Many are also expected to sign up for Honor Flight of Ellis County’s guided visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. in May next year.
At the Thursday event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ennis and Ennis Regional Medical Center, Dave Anderson, ERMC’s chief executive officer, will be assisted in presenting certificates to veterans by Robert F. Ewing, State Chaplain for the Texas National Guard.
Honor Flight, established to transport elderly former soldiers to the World War II Memorial, is a growing national organization and the newly created, Ennis-based affiliate is the first from Texas.
Century 21 Judge Fite realtor Marylyn Wylie is used to representing precious assets, making her well suited to head up an effort honoring a generation of military men and women that isn’t only invaluable for sacrifices made in the most horrific war of modern times but one that’s fast disappearing.
“We need Honor Flight in Texas, and we need it all over this country,” Wylie said. “Between 1,200 and 1,500 World War II veterans die every day.”
Wylie explained she was inspired by a TV news item about the Honor Flight project, which began in Ohio in 2005 when organizer Earl Morse, a retired Air Force captain, realized many veterans longed to see the national memorial but due to age, infirmity or finances believed they’d never get the chance. Morse funded the first flights of WWII service personnel to the memorial, later founding with others the current organization devoted to transporting veterans to Washington.
Wylie is passionate about her work to include Ennis area veterans in this national crusade, and so are those helping her.
Ron and Carol Spellman are among Honor Flight of Ellis County volunteers who are getting the word out to veterans who might like to participate.
“Success will be determined by those who feel, as we do, that honor is due these veterans who have been referred to by Tom Brokaw as the “Greatest Generation,” said Ron Spellman, adding that “time is not on the side of these veterans” and that because of that alone “this is a very important project.”
In addition to the Spellmans, Wylie is being assisted by Kathryn Barnett, Bernie Martinek, Dr. Blayne Laws, Charles Kelker, Dan Cook and James “Dub” Maines, Jr.
Wylie said she’s also grateful for sponsors like the Rotary Club of Ennis and Ennis Regional Medical Center, who have planned the special reception to honor local WW II vets at the Ennis Country Club tomorrow.
Jane Mize, president of Ennis Rotary and marketing director for ERMC said the organizations she represents are glad “to honor those veterans who were caught up in the misery of that time and to celebrate the ultimate victory they brought to us, a victory which permits all of us to enjoy the freedom we have today.”
A good number of Ennis and Ellis County veterans have signed up for the trip planned for next spring. There is a March 1 deadline for applications; these will be available at the Country Club event.
Wylie said because of the big response from vets, more sponsors for the Washington visit are needed.
According to Spellman, the trip being planned will include a tour of the WW II memorial, a dinner in the veterans’ honor, an overnight stay in the Washington D.C. area, a tour of Arlington Memorial Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Veterans will make this trip free of all charges,” Spellman said, “Honor Flight of Ellis County will cover all expenses. There will be one guardian for each three physically able veterans and one guardian for each veteran with physical limitations. Volunteer medical personnel will also make the trip. The group will travel by bus to an airport in Dallas accompanied by Patriot Guard Riders. In Washington, D.C. they will be met by chartered bus and taken to the World War ll memorial.”
Wylie added that veterans, upon landing in Washington, will be met by representatives from Congressman Joe Barton’s office as well as escorted again by Patriot Guardsmen.
Questions about Honor Flight of Ellis County should be directed to Marylyn Wylie at 972-875-8836. To sponsor a veteran, make a donation to Honor Flight of Ellis County, or volunteer to help the group in its efforts, call Ron or Carol Spellman at 972-875-1554.
Honor Flight of Ellis County’s mailing address is P.O. Box 783, Ennis, Tx 75120. Readers may also visit the organization’s new website, www.honorflightofelliscounty.com.
Donations are tax deductible.

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Posted by on Dec 27 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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