Huntington, W.Va. (WOWK) Hundreds of people from the Tri-State area gathered at the airport in Huntington Saturday night to support military veterans.
Amy Johnson, who is the HUB director for Honor Flight Huntington, said the idea for the 5K at the Runway started out as a dinner conversation between her husband and a friend, and now it is reality.
She said the idea is,”new and exciting”, and she hopes it becomes an annual thing.
Proceeds from the event go toward a flight to send military veterans from the Tri-State area to Washington D.C. to visit places like the Arlington National Cemetery and various other veterans memorials for the day.
As of now the organization has plans to send 100 veterans (WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam) to the Nations Capital in October, and raise $85,000 to cover all their expenses.
About 564 people participated in the event on Saturday night, including WOWK-13 NEWS’s own Spencer Adkins.
Ashley Draper, human resources and airport administrator for the Huntington Tri-State Airport, said she was “shocked by how many registered and signed up for the event”.
One participant WOWK-13 NEWS talked to said she came out to support family members who served in the military.
“Because my father was in WWII, and my father- in- law was in WWII. . . I have a son that is serving in the US Army, and I think this is a great opportunity for us to show our appreciation,” said Jeannie Adkins, 5K on the Runway participant.
The Honor Flight has been supporting veterans since 2014 and holds multiple fundraisers for veterans year round.
Veteran Thomas Nicely of Cabell County, who served in Vietnam from 1970-71, was lucky enough to be one of the 89 veterans to took part in the Honor Flight last year that went to Washington D.C.
He said the experience was, “excellent”, and meant “everything to him”.
Johnson said the veterans also get a “Hero’s Welcome” when they arrive in Washington D.C. and back in Tri- State area.
Nicely said that was something he and others didn’t get when they arrived back from Vietnam.
He said he very much appreciated the gesture when he was a recipient of the Honor Flight last year.