On Sunday, August 14, 2016, Officer Donny Rathje, representing the Hawthorn Woods Police Department, proudly welcomed home Hawthorn Woods resident Henry Solberg from his Honor Flight. Mr. Solberg, an Air Force Korean War veteran, attended Lake County Honor Flight #7. The mission of Lake County Honor Flight and the Honor Flight Network is to fly America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the monuments and memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Top priority is given to America’s most senior veterans, the survivors of World War II, followed by Korean and Vietnam veterans and any veterans with a terminal illness who wish to visit the memorials. Honor Flight veterans are provided the trip free of cost, as the non-profit Lake County Honor Flight organization works diligently to raise funds and operates on a 100% volunteer basis.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at the North Chicago Police Department, members of local Lake County law enforcement agencies lined up to travel to General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to escort home twenty-one military veterans returning from their trip to Washington, D.C. “To be part of a tribute as memorable as this one was truly an experience I will never forget. Mr. Solberg and his fellow veterans need to know that their service to our great country does not go unrecognized. If I can emulate even half of the class and professionalism I felt from them after this honor flight, I would be forever grateful. Their service to our country is something I vow to keep in mind during each shift as a police officer for the Village of Hawthorn Woods,” said Officer Rathje.
Back at Veterans Memorial Park in North Chicago, a gathering of family, friends, and members of the public wishing to express their gratitude, prepared for the military salute lineup to greet the veterans. The welcome home ceremony consisted of hand-made posters and supporters waving American flags and decked out in red, white and blue patriotic dress. “Everyone can learn a valuable lesson from these veterans and I am honored to have represented Hawthorn Woods for this Honor Flight tribute,” said Officer Rathje.