99-year-old to be oldest veteran from Spokane area to take Honor Flight

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by Othello Richards & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 22 at 6:42 PM

World War 2 veteran James Elms couldn't be happier.  The Inland Northwest Honor Flight program has been around since 2009, but it was just recently the vet became aware of it.

Elms is 99 years old and spent several of his years serving his country in the US Air Force.  Elms was stationed at a base in Fairbanks, Alaska where he worked as a ground crewman.

About a month ago, Elms says he read an article about Honor Flight in the local paper.  It's the first he says he'd heard of it.  His daughter signed him up.

When another vet dropped out for the upcoming trip in June, Elms moved off the waiting list.

Since its launch in November 2009, Honor Flight has flown approximately 400 veterans to Washington D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.  Up until the end of last year, Southwest Airlines covered the airfare for 215 of those Inland Northwest vets.

Southwest is still helping with Honor Flight nationally, but is now giving tickets to the new hubs that are getting started.

Tony Lamana, Inland Northwest Honor Flight director, says the airfare alone for this June trip is $715.  Hotel and accommodations cost another $200.  Lamana says roughly 160 veterans from the area are still waiting to go.
 

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