Sixty-seven veterans from the central San Joaquin Valley took off Monday for the nation’s capital as part of the Central Valley Honor Flight program.
It marked the ninth such trip that veterans have made since the Honor Flights began in 2013, said Sarah Pruner Gunlund, spokeswoman for the organization.
Of the veterans on board, 63 were men and four were women. They served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Pruner Gunlund said.
The group took off Monday morning from Fresno Yosemite International en route to Baltimore-Washington International airport. One of the women developed a medical emergency during the flight, so the plane was diverted to Colorado Springs, Pruner Gunlund said. Doctors and nurses on board the aircraft stabilized the 91-year-old woman, and once the flight arrived in Colorado Springs, that veteran was taken to a hospital, Pruner Gunlund said.
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“We were concerned because she was frail and in her 90s,” said Dr. Rick Geller, who has volunteered to serve on the medical staff of four honor flights. The veteran was given oxygen and an IV.
The incident marked the first such medical emergency since the flights began, Pruner Gunlund said. She reported the woman was in stable condition “and doing well.”
While in Washington, D.C., the veterans will tour the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and other landmarks. They will also go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
The group returns to Fresno on Wednesday evening.
Three more flights are planned – June, September and October. The group can use donations to help pay for the veterans to go. To contribute, go to http://www.cvhonorflight.org/.