The national office of Assisting Hands Home Care announced today that franchise owner Becky Moultrie of Assisting Hands Pinellas County traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of a caregiving team selected to accompany veterans on the 32nd Mission of Honor Flight West Central Florida.
Moultrie applied to be an Honor Flight “guardian,” who is an individual assigned to a veteran to provide one-on-one assistance.
The 32nd Mission of Honor Flight West Central Florida began at 4 a.m. on Oct. 24 when 72 veterans from World War II, the Korea War and the Vietnam War arrived at the airport with their guardians, other volunteers and medical staff.
“People would move aside and applaud as we navigated through the airport,” said Moultrie. “It was amazing to see the veterans get the recognition they deserve.”
Moultrie was paired with Peter White, a Korean War veteran and retired U.S. Marine.
“Becky was delightful and very helpful,” said White. “She made the trip easy and kept me informed about where to go.”
The group departed from Florida and landed in Baltimore, where three chartered buses took them to the Air Force Memorial in Virginia and then to the nation’s capital. Each leg of the trip was accompanied by a police escort from the U.S. Parks Service. Once in Washington, the group visited the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the World War II Memorial.
“At any memorial we visited, the veterans were taken aback,” said Moultrie. “They were as emotional at other memorials as they were their own. It was very moving and patriotic.”
After an exhilarating day, the Honor Flight returned to Florida.
“When the veterans came home during the war, their homecoming was not what it is portrayed in the movies,” said Moultrie. “After World War II and Korea, soldiers came home at different times, and soldiers returning from Vietnam were often met with boos and anger.”
Honor Flight gave the veterans a proper homecoming that included a hallway lined with members of the community cheering, shaking hands and thanking the veterans for their service.
“I will mark this day in the diary of my life,” said White. “It was an adventure from the time it began to the time it concluded.”
This is the second Honor Flight that Assisting Hands has attended and assisted this year. In June, Angela Flintz of Elgin, Illinois served as a nurse with Honor Flight Chicago. Moultrie is responsible for getting Flintz involved in the Honor Flight program.
“Assisting Hands owners serve their clients diligently every day, but to see our franchise owners go above and beyond is an inspiring reminder of their commitment to community and service,” said Lane Kofoed, CEO of Assisting Hands Home Care. “We are privileged to have such dedicated owners representing Assisting Hands.”
Inspired by her trip and the impact it had on the veterans, Moultrie devised a way to help more veterans enjoy the Honor Flight experience.
“Some veterans are unable to attend the Honor Flight because they serve as the primary caregivers for a loved one at home,” said Moultrie. “They cannot be away from home for 18-20 hours.”
To remedy this in 2018, Moultrie is working with neighboring franchise office Assisting Hands Pasco in the hopes of providing free or reduced cost caregiving services to the family members of veterans during Honor Flight trips. They hope to get more Assisting Hands offices in Florida involved.
Eager to serve again, Moultrie looks ahead to the next Honor Flight.
“It was one of the top tens days in my life,” said Moultrie. “It was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to do it again.”