On June 28, one of Bay Pines' Community Living Center Residents, 89 year old Peter Melos, made the trip of a lifetime. He got to see, in-person, the memorial dedicated to the war in which he fought, the National WWII Memorial *. His trip was made possible by the Honor Flight Network *.
Pete Melos grew up in Rochester New York. He enlisted into the U.S. Air Force at 19 years old and served in Europe and South America until his discharge in 1946. He spent the rest of his life enjoying exercising, particularly weight lifting. He also enjoyed volunteering his time at hospitals and nursing homes playing music on his harmonica for patients and became a resident at Bay Pines' Community Living Center in 2004. He loves to play the harmonica and there is rarely a song he doesn’t know. Regarding his trip, he said, "I enjoyed the plane ride and as we were traveling over Washington DC, I was able to recall all of the things I had seen before."
This was Trip #2 for the West Central Florida Honor Flight Chapter. They took 71 Veterans, accompanied by 70 Guardians, on the long haul, one-day excursion. One of Bay Pines' staff members, Dr. Ted Strickland, MD, also made the trip as a medical chaperone. The day started early, they were at the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport at 3:00 am, arrived to DC by 8:00 am, and spent the day touring many of the nation’s war memorials. Dr. Strickland said, "These guys are tough as nails. It was a 20 hour day and 95 degrees in the capitol, but not one made a complaint." Other Bay Pines' staff have also volunteered and made flights with Honor Flight.
The youngest of the Veterans was 85 years old and the oldest 97; they live all over Tampa Bay and were chosen for the trip by Honor Flight. If you’re interested in finding out more about West Central Florida Honor Flight *, please contact them directly.
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