About 100 veterans left Spokane on Monday morning to head to the nation’s capital to see the monuments there built in their honor.

Monday was the first Honor Flight of 2017 for the Inland Northwest chapter, and residents came out to wave them goodbye.

“It’s just an honor to be on this flight,” said Joe Sutton, a veteran. “A highlight of my life, really.”

To date, Inland Northwest Honor Flight has taken approximately 1,400 veterans to Washington D.C.

One ardent supporter, Dale Storer, said he travels from his home in Chewelah nearly every time to shake the hand of each veteran before they board the flight.

“I’ve only missed two flights,” said Storer. “I feel like I have an obligation to serve our country.”

Storer himself is a Vietnam veteran – he made two tours of duty – and was wounded in action before making it home.

He said his dedication to the veterans is just an extension of his love of country.

“No one met us at the airport like they do now,” he said. “A couple of us met and went to a hotel then out to eat. Couple of guys came over and told us to get out with our uniforms – that we weren’t allowed to be there. That has always bothered me over 50 years.”

Storer has been a long-time supporter of Honor Flight, but has never gone himself. He has been busy holding positions in his VFW and multiple non-profits.

“I’ve signed up to go,” he said. “It’ll be like closing a door.”