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Veterans Invited to Join the 2014 Permian Basin Honor Flight

The Permian Basin Honor Flight is an organization that hopes to take veterans on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to experience the memorials made in their honor.
Odessa residents John and Marcia West lost their son more than three years ago as he served in the Iraq war.

Matthew West was an Army Staff Sargent, a husband and a father of three, who enlisted in the military after the September 11 attacks and pledged to serve his country forever.

“He volunteered. He was in a high risk job. He was working the bomb squad in Afghanistan, in Iraq,” John West said. “He knew somebody had to do it. He went over there to protect lives. He went over there and communicated with us regularly about how his dismantling of bombs was saving their children, other mothers, other fathers, and that's what he would want to be remembered as.”

The West family is just one of the families scheduled to fly with the 2014 Permian Basin Honor Flight, an organization that hopes to take veterans on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to experience the memorials made in their honor.

The Permian Basin Honor Flight expects to take 143 veterans on the trip, and is looking for donors to sponsor the veterans.

“The airplane will not take off unless it's paid for,” said Jack Barnes, Director of the Permian Basin Honor Flight. “Because this is a first-class trip. Three days, two nights, we need money.”

The group needs $250,000 in order to pay for all the veterans. The group hopes to have the money by the summer to finalize their plans.

Odessa mayor David Turner and other local officials are expected to attend the 2014 trip and accompany the veterans to Washington D.C.

“It’s very humbling to be able to travel with heroes,” Turner said. “It will be amazing to see some of their reactions to the Vietnam Wall, the WWII Monument. I’m just very honored.”

Congressman Mike Conaway said that he would most likely be in Washington D.C. during the time the veterans visit. If his schedule allows, he too, will be joining the Permian Basin veterans.

“The men and women who put on the uniforms and serve demonstrate that love differently than the folks who don’t so that,” Conaway said. “They have that tangible proof that they do in fact love this country because they take the risk of putting on the uniform.”

The West family said that being part of the honor flights a bitter sweet moment, which brings joy but also the pain of having lost a son.

“Because he is not here,” Marcia West said. “Every day you wake up and you think of him and we want to make him proud.”


For more information about the Permian Basin Honor flight visit www.PermianHonorFlight.org

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