SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A lack of funds made Honor Flight San Diego cancel their spring trip, but the group is re-energized to make sure they can take a group of World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., this fall.
"It's important to show them the respect and honor they deserve, before time runs out," said San Diego Honor Flight Vice Chairman Jeff Hall. "But time is our enemy."
Veterans groups estimate between 500 and 600 World War II vets die every day in America, and there are only about 1,000 left in San Diego. That made the decision to cancel a planned Honor Flight in March extremely difficult.
"To finally pull that plug," Hall said, "that was hard."
San Diego has had 17 honor flights since 2010. Each flight takes about 80 veterans to the nation's capital to see the memorial built in their honor.
"Unless you see that in person, you cannot realize the extent of it, what's involved," said Dr. Harmon Easton.
Easton served in the Coast Guard in WWII as a dentist. Even though he didn't see combat, he still felt the magnitude of the memorials.
"To a lot of people, it was an emotional experience. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said.
It's an expensive experience as well. Each flight costs about $250,000, and the Honor Flight has to raise that money from donations.
They have another trip planned in September. This spring, they've partnered with the San Diego Enforcers, a semi-professional football team. The Enforcers will raise money at each game to help the Honor Flight.
The Honor Flight will also hold a gala event this weekend to raise money.
Hall knows that time is of the essence.
"A good percentage of the veterans who were supposed to be on the trip in March won't be able to go in September for a variety of health reasons," he said.
Hall is determined to make sure the next flight gets off the ground as scheduled.
Learn more about Honor Flight's April 9 fundraiser and how you can help by clicking here.