Collier County Honor Flight Takes Its Seventh Flight Thanks to Arthrex’s Support

This Veteran's Day, Arthrex is proud to honor veterans and the many employees in our company that have served in the military. Arthrex sponsors the Collier County Chapter of Honor Flight (CCHF), an organization that provides war veterans a free trip to Washington D.C. to visit the National World War II Memorial and other memorials in the nation’s capital.

Honor FlightThe local chapter raises funds and connects with veterans, guardians and companies to participate. Many Arthrex employees have welcomed veterans back from their flights and even supported the chapter as guardians on the flights. On Saturday, November 7, 2015, CCHF conducted its seventh mission escorting 70 WWII Veterans and two Korean War Veterans to Washington, DC for the day to visit the memorials constructed in their honor.  Serving as guardians on this flight representing Arthrex were Donna Brown, Dr. Paul Hobaica, Marli de Carvalho, Bill Canfield and George Rego.

Honor FlightArthrex made the day a family affair with Dr. Hobaica serving as guardian for his father, Henry, a Korean War Veteran. “We all gained a wonderful experience,” said Dr. Hobaica. “For me to have been able to escort my dad was pure bonus.”

Bill Canfield agreed, “The entire experience was very overwhelming, but personally rewarding in so many ways. My vet was incredible and his stories were amazing. I am very grateful to Arthrex and the ‘super guardians’ for this opportunity.”

“My veteran, Ray, enjoyed the day,” shared Donna Brown. “We both couldn’t believe the incredible welcome the veterans received both in DC and at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) – it was very emotional and very heartwarming!  The crowd at RSW must have been over 1,000 people – simply amazing!  I’m glad I was able to be a part of this special day!

Marli Carvahlo summed up the importance of supporting CCHF when she said, “So many of them live alone in assisted living and think the world doesn’t care about them or what they have done in the service. This trip is a solid message to them that all generations have not and will never forget! Arriving in DC and then back here with all the fanfare and hugs and kisses from the was special to them! I was honored to be part of their day!

Honor FlightPrior to the flight, at a meet and greet event that brings together the guardian and the veteran for the first time, Arthrex Photographer Chris Toalson was honored by the CCHF Board with the designation of Honorary Chairman of Mission 7. Prior to each flight the board recognizes one volunteer whose efforts in supporting the program go above and beyond all expectations. Chris has been a part of Honor Flight since Mission 2. At each meet and greet event prior to the flight, Chris takes a portrait of the veteran, the veteran and his/her guardian, and the veteran and any family members that may be present – about 200 portraits in total in just two hours. Photographs on flight day start for Chris at approximately 6 a.m. and do not often end until after midnight. His photographs have documented the journeys of hundreds of veterans and preserved precious memories for the veterans and their families. 

In addition to his photography skills, Chris helps CCHF staff and the treasured travelers wherever needed during flight day. And as if this was not enough, when announcing Chris as the Honorary Chairman, CCHF Director Sean Lux cited Chris’ invaluable help in revamping the CCHF website and creating a central repository for easy access to flight pictures. When asked what Chris’ contributions mean to the team, Sean said, “We (CCHF) give veterans the day of their life, and Chris gives them memories that last a lifetime.”

Category: In the Community