Special to the Review
The Athens Review
Two Athens men who served in World War II are part of a veteran’s visit to the nation’s capital this week.
J.C. Garrett and Doug Tanner join 28 others being escorted by Brookshires Grocery Co. who will tour the WWII Memorial and other sites. The veterans were set to leave Texas on Thursday and return at 9 a.m., Saturday.
Known as “Heroes Flights,” the program began as a way for the company to honor local World War II veterans for their service and sacrifices. Most of the veterans have never seen the memorial which was constructed in 2004. Now in their 80s and 90s, many would never have the opportunity without BGC’s Heroes Flights program.
This flight marks the sixth trip since spring 2010. BGC employees and community leaders travel as “guardians” to assist the veterans during the journey. There is no charge for the veterans selected for the trip.
Trip highlights include the World War II Memorial and a tour of the U.S. Capitol led by Congressman Louie Gohmert of Tyler. There will be stops at various landmarks including the Vietnam, Lincoln, Navy and Air Force Memorials. The veterans will also attend the changing of the guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
The veterans are from several northeast Texas locations, including Athens, Tyler, Hideaway, Mineola, Palestine, Overton, Canton, Leesburg, Longview, Bullard, Granbury, Grand Saline, Lancaster and Chandler, as well as Monroe, La.
“As Americans, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude that can never fully be paid,” Rick Rayford, BGC president and CEO said. “Our company is committed to giving back to local communities, and the Heroes Flights is one of our most rewarding efforts.”
Veterans interested in participating in possible future opportunities can apply by calling 903-534-3076 and requesting an application.