Honorable Graduate Honors VeteransThe halls of Marion Technical College are filled with students who have incredible and inspirational stories. We learned of one alumni whose story starts long after walking these halls. She will be remembered by the many people she has helped and the lives she has touched with her kindness.
A 1990 MTC graduate, Susan (Hurd) Lover-Barr’s education has served her well at Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware, Ohio for the past 19 years. However, it is not her time at Grady or MTC that is the story here.
For the past five years, Susan has been working with a program called the Honor Flight Network to help World War II (WWII) veterans travel to Washington D.C. to see the monument built in their honor. She learned of the program through her uncle, a veteran himself, who knew the founder of Honor Flight Network, Earl Morse. Once she learned about the program, the rest is history. Susan learned the ropes, and 80 trips later, she is still assisting those with special medical needs while making a very emotional trip to see the monument of their service.
“The program does not receive any federal funding; it is strictly run by generous donations and volunteers,” Barr said. “It is a tribute to the soldiers that even in this economy, people are willing to give to such a wonderful cause.” Because of her nursing experience, Barr’s presence on the trips is a blessing as many of the soldiers have special medical needs. Though they do not advertise that they provide medical assistance, she says that almost all trips have some type of trained medical staff on hand.
She told a story of a man who was not eating his lunch that was served. When asked why, he finally admitted that he was fed through a feeding tube and was afraid that he wouldn’t be allowed to make the trip if he revealed that information. “He was going to not eat for three days just to see the monument! It’s important that WWII veterans know we can take them with medical concerns and the trip is free of charge for them,” Susan stressed.
Able-bodied volunteers or “guardians” are always needed to assist on the Honor Flights as well. They come in the form of family members, friends, or concerned citizens. They pay their own way for the trip, but are more than happy to do it knowing that they are making the dreams of veterans come true.
MTC professor Linda Williams made the trip as a guardian with her mother-in-law and had this to say about her experience: “This was a great experience that I would volunteer to do again. I heard stories from people who served in WWII and I felt honored to be a part of their experience. My mother-in-law went on the trip as a veteran. She can’t stop talking about the trip and the people she met on it. If anyone knows a WWII veteran who has not made the trip, they should go to the Honor Flight web site and help them get signed up.”
Susan now spends less time on the flights and more time training other states on how to make successful flights. She is very humble about her great work, “Many of these vets have never been thanked for their commitment to our country through their time in WWII, and this is my way of saying thank you.”
We are very proud of all of our students and graduates at MTC, and we are very thankful for those who have served in the military to protect our freedom. If you would like a chance to say “thank you” through volunteering to be a guardian for the Honor Flight Network or donating to the cause, please visit www.honorflight.org.