Community members and friends of Collier County Honor Flight raised $60,000 during a two-day Veterans Day fundraising event featuring the film Honor Flight at Paragon Theater in Naples November 11 and 12. The Collier County Honor Flight is a hub of the non-profit Honor Flight Network created solely to honor America’s veterans and their sacrifices.
The Veterans Day celebration included a movie screening of the award winning documentary and VIP meet and greet with Honor Flight film Producer, Director and Co-Founder. The award-winning documentary, first released in 2012 and shown at the 2012 Naples International Film Festival (NIFF), is a heartwarming documentary that depicts the lives of four World War II veterans and a Midwest community coming together to give them the trip of a lifetime.
The event included special VIP guests Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and Joe Demler, one of the film stars and also a former WWII Veteran and POW, known as the ‘Human Skeleton’. The event was chaired by Naples residents, Chuck and Kimberly Anderson and sponsored by Breitling, Paragon Theaters, Freethink Media, MARKIT Group, John R Wood/Patrick Dearborn, Jack Eyes, Naples Princess, Taylor Made, Hilton Hotel, New Balance, Fresh Fit Foods, Joseph Wendt Custom Clothiers, Home-Tech and Peace Tags.
“As a Veteran this is a cause close to my heart,” says Patrick Dearborn, a Veteran of the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division and a John R. Wood top producing realtor. “I am blown away by the support we received from our community. Through donations, sponsors and ticket sales we were able to raise $60,000, which means we can send 60 more World War II Veterans to Washington D.C.”
Collier County Honor Flight’s mission is to transport Naples and Marco Island area veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. The organization was established in Collier County on September 25, 2013 in an effort to bring this national program to local veterans at no cost to these heroes. Since their inception, the group has transported 225 Southwest Florida Veterans of World War II on four separate flights. Proceeds from the Veterans Day event will go towards funding future Honor flights in 2015.
The event kicked off with a red carpet reception from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, November 11 and included a Q& A session with Honor Flight filmmakers Dan Hayes, Director, Clay Broga, Producer, and Jeff Miller, Honor Flight Network Co-founder. The first showing of the movie sold out so a second time was added on Wednesday, November 12.
For more information about Honor Flight of Collier County, call (239) 777-9295 or visit www.collierhonorflight.org.