Four times a year, nearly 100 area veterans board the Badger Honor Flight for a trip to see the monuments built especially for them in Washington, D.C.
Brian Ziegler, the chair of the Honor Flight Board of Directors, told the Waunakee Rotary Club about that completely volunteer organization at the Oct. 13 meeting.
Brian has been the board president since 2009, when the first Badger flight took off.
“I”m very passionate about this,” he said. “It’s a great organization be part of.”
Brian said the mission is simple – take veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor.
Each flight costs about $95,000. Part of the funds come from the $500 charged for the guardians – each veteran must be accompanied by a guardian. The rest of funds come from fundraising and donations.
Sauk Prairie businesses and community organizations raised $210,000 for the organization in 9 months, he said.
The Honor Flights began in 2005 in Dayton, Ohio, when a physician realized some veterans were unable to go to Washington. He arranged to take a few in his Cessna. The first commercial Honor Flight was organized in Hendersonville, North Carolina. On Sept. 24, the 500th Honor Flight landed in Washington.
Initially, the Badger Honor Flight chapter gave World War II veterans priority for the waiting lists. Since then, more Korean War and now Vietnam War veterans have been included. Any veteran who put a uniform on for one day is eligible.
“That’s taken a bit to get over for some veterans,” Brian said.
As the only one in his company who was deployed, he understands, but Brian also feels all veterans who made sacrifices whether they traveled or not should be honored, he said.
The Badger Honor Flight is one in six chapters in Wisconsin. There are 130 in the United States.
On Oct. 22, the Badger Honor Flight will mark its 25th trip since it began in 2009. Nearly 2,200 veterans have taken the trip through the local organization.
Brian said the tours are the last time many World War II veterans will be thanked for their service.
The Waunakee Rotary Club presented a check for $1,000 to Brian for the organization. For information on donating, visit or call (608) 616-0234.
Other news:
•Food for Kidz is no longer looking for volunteers. All the slots have been spoken for.
•If you’re looking to watch the Oct. 20 Packer Game with friends, stop by Lucky’s. Rotarians are planing to show up for it.
•Next week, the District Governor will be the speaker. Plan to show up, Club President Travis Heiser asked.  
•Todd Schmidt thanked the club for all the speaker ideas. If you have any others, feel free to email him at:
Guests: Jody Pulvermacher, guest of Bob Pulvermacher;  Dick and Janice Heiser, guest of Travis Heiser; Linda Ziegler, guest of Shelley Moffatt; Nancy Thomas, guest of Pat Durden.   
Greeters: Oct. 20, Randy Guttenberg and Rich Harris; Oct. 27, Mick Holm and Roxanne Johnson; Nov. 3, James Kattner and Kevin Kearney; Nov. 10, Chris Kenney and Bob Klostermann
Visiting Rotarians: Chuck Sandager, Albert Lea, Minnesota.