From top to bottom are Mark Veldhuis, Richard Dunberger, Edward Pinkham, Ralph Frank, Mel Smith, Leonard Black, Mike Goyack, Dave Pauley, and John Tornga on the dock. Veldhuis, Pauley and Tornga are volunteers with Honor Flight, while the others are World War II veterans.
DUNEDIN - Six World War II veterans were aboard the Semper Fi at Marker 1 as they prepared to join the Dunedin Boat Parade Dec. 7.
It was a special day for Mel Smith, a Pearl Harbor survivor, because Dec. 7 is recognized as Pearl Harbor Day.
The World War II veterans received a great reception from those who attended the Dunedin Boat Parade. When they entered the marina, the applause was huge. After the parade the Dunedin Boat Club treated these veterans as heroes, providing food, refreshments, and acknowledgement to each of them, Tornga said.
Honor Flight of West Central Florida was established in late 2010 as an official regional hub of the National Honor Flight Network. As part of the Network, the organization provides all expense paid flights for World War II Veterans in the Tampa Bay area to visit their memorials in Washington, D.C.
Any veteran seeking additional information can contact Honor Flight on the Web at www.honorflightwcf.org or by phoning 498-6097.