Veterans eligible to apply for first Honor Flight from Puerto Rico

Inaugural Long Eagle Honor Flight to take off April 12-14

For the first time, an Honor Flight will take off in Puerto Rico bound for Washington, D.C. this April.

“The send off and the welcome home in Puerto Rico are going to be off the charts, it’s going to be out of this world. It’s going to be wonderful,” said Meredith Rosenbeck, CEO of Honor Flight Network.

The Honor Flight Network has been in operation for more than 15 years, with 124 hubs around the U.S. and having transported more than 260,000 veterans to D.C.

“Honor Flight is a way that we can honor our veterans for their service to our country. Right now our flight network is honoring veterans from World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, and then terminally ill veterans from any era of service,” said Rosenbeck. “And what we do with Honor Flight is veterans apply for an Honor Flight trip. And we take them to Washington, D.C. along with a group of other veterans to visit their memorials and have a day of reflection, sharing, and just time to be together as veterans and share their stories with other veterans to kind of understand where they’ve been and where they’ve come from.”

Now, with the support of PenFed Credit Union, they’re able to offer that experience in Puerto Rico.

“We’re looking to show our appreciation to these veterans that have haven’t had this opportunity,” said Brian Cajigas, PenFed financial center manager. “So it’s making history here in Puerto Rico, given them that send off that, when they come back, that it’s a very special moment that we’re looking forward to it. And we just want to be a part of this amazing initiative. So thank you Honor Flight for letting us be a part of it.”

“We are hoping to with the help of PenFed and some of our other support in Puerto Rico, establish what we call a hub in Puerto Rico. So our hubs are groups of volunteers in one area that that actually run an organization in that area, in support of the mission,” said Rosenbeck. “And so we’re hoping to establish a hub in Puerto Rico, that will do two, three, maybe even four trips a year with Puerto Rican veterans. So get on the waiting list, we encourage all of our veterans to apply and get on the list. Even if this is not this April flight, we will get you there.”

Rosenbeck said it’s not just about the flight itself, the experience for veterans goes way beyond that.

“It it is amazing when you can be around people who who kind of understand or who have lived through something similar, or have had those memories locked away for a long time. It’s amazing how that really does help,” said Rosenbeck. “And that the time heals. And those that time together heals them, we find a lot of our veterans will get together afterwards, have lunch together, or some of the younger veterans will go pick up the older veterans and will go play cards somewhere. And that just enables them to create relationships that that last, you know, for a lifetime.”

Rosenbeck stressed that limited mobility is not an issue as they’re very experienced in assisting and transporting veterans of all abilities. The flights are also at no cost to the benefit, so finances don’t need to be a boundary to the experience.

She said 25-28 veterans will be on this initial Lone Eagle flight from Puerto Rico. To apply, click here.

To apply for other Honor Flights from Central Florida, contact Honor Flight Central Florida co-chairs Landy & Kaye Dunham at

About the Author:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.