Above: Bob Holmes. Courtesy photo
ESCONDIDO — On May 5, Tom Foreman and Bob Holmes had a ceremonious welcome home from the trip of a lifetime. Courtesy of Honor Flight San Diego, the two World War II veterans were chosen to take an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at the memorials dedicated to their sacrifice and service.
The two men are both residents of Cypress Court senior living community, where a significant contingent of the residents are veterans.
The staff and community makes a point to honor them.
“We choose a veteran of the month every month in our newsletter where they can share their story with our community about their service time in the military,” Catherine Babinski, Sales Director, said. “And residents can utilize the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits as a help toward their rent if they qualify for the program.”
Foreman, 97, and Holmes, 95, were part of a group of more than 180 veterans chosen for one of Honor Flight’s twice yearly trips. “I just love these guys, they are so exciting, and I feel so blessed to know them,” Saundra Cima, Honor Flight San Diego’s director, said.
For the trips, each veteran is paired with a guardian. For some it is a family member, others are paired with a volunteer. The guardian accompanies the veteran throughout the trip, providing support and helping them get around with a wheelchair.
When Foreman, whose grandson accompanied him on the Honor Flight, first heard he was chosen, he was slightly reluctant. “I was a little old, I thought maybe I shouldn’t go,” the Purple Heart honoree said. “But it was very interesting and they took very good care of me. I saw things I never thought I’d see. It was well worth going and I really enjoyed the trip.”
The sightseeing wasn’t just about visiting the memorials. “They had traffic control, and blocked traffic and we drove right through. We were able to see so many things because we could move around so fast,” Foreman said. “We saw the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool and Jefferson’s Tomb … we were able to see a lot of things the average tourist wouldn’t see, like a Naval museum that dates back to the 1700s that they don’t open to the public. I was able to explain to my grandson about the guns and the different things that I saw and did. It was really interesting.”
Holmes, who was a pilot in World War II, was able to attend with his son as his guardian. “Bob patrolled the Pacific for ships and submarines,” Cima said. “He says he spent a lot of time looking at water, and was even unexpectedly shot at while doing so, so Bob calls himself lucky. He was an integral part in the safety of our servicemen and women in World War II.”
Honor Flight is a 100% volunteer organization, that is currently trying to raise money for the not yet fully funded October trip. “One hundred percent of the money we raise goes to funding our trip. It is 100% free of charge for our veterans,” Cima said.
Currently World War II and Korean War veterans are being taken on the trips, as well as the most infirmed veterans. “Our mission is to continue to fly veterans from the Vietnam War and beyond.” The next Honor Flight is scheduled for Oct. 4 to Oct. 6. For more information about Honor Flight San Diego, visit honorflightsandiego.org.
Cypress Court of Escondido is located at 1255 North Broadway. For more information about the exceptional senior living community, and details on the upcoming Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefit presentation held at Cypress Court call (760) 747-1940 or visit www.LifeatCypressCourt.com.