County Republicans donate funds to Honor Flight

Published 4:07 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An organization dedicated to honoring veterans for their service by helping them visit the memorials dedicated to them in the nation’s capital received some support Tuesday evening to help them achieve their mission.

Honor Flight Northeast Tennessee works to provide honor trips to veterans from the Northeast Tennessee region, especially those who served in WWII, at no cost to the veteran so they can experience the memorial dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

Members of the Carter County Republican Party presented Edie Lowry, president and CEO of Honor Flight Northeast Tennessee, with a check for $600 during the party’s meeting Tuesday evening to help the organization fulfill their mission. The funds donated by the Republican Party to Honor Flight were raised through the party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner held earlier this year featuring Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Marsha Blackburn as the featured guest. Party members sold more than 200 tickets for the event.

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Carter County Republican Party Chairman Johnny Holder spoke to the party members assembled Tuesday and praised the efforts of Honor Flight Northeast Tennessee in serving area veterans.

“They do a fantastic job,” Holder said.

Lowry thanked the Carter County Republican Party for the donation and shared with the group how the organization will use the funds.

“It’s going to tremendously help with our Vietnam trip in October,” Lowry said, adding the trip will consist of veterans who all served in Vietnam. “I got to meet about 20 of them the other night, and they are so excited about going.”

During the trips to the capital, veterans tour the war memorials in the nation’s capitol, especially the memorial for the war in which the group of veterans served. The veterans also visit other locations and take part in a variety of other activities during their trip.

“It is an amazing journey for the veterans,” Lowry said.

Both Lowry and program volunteer Anita Hodges Taylor shared stories about what they said is one of the most touching parts of an Honor Flight trip — mail call with the veterans. Before leaving on the trip, Honor Flight works with volunteers, schools, and other groups to get letters and cards for the veterans who will be attending. During the trip, volunteers hold a mail call, similar to what the veterans would have seen during their service, and hand out the cards and letters.

“One of the veterans got his letter, and he began to cry,” Taylor said. “He said ‘I never got a letter the whole time I was in the service.’ It just touches your heart to see it.”

Lowry explained the veteran was an orphan when he entered the service, and during his four years in the military he had never received a single letter. Lowry shared the story of the veteran with others, and she said the story quickly went viral on the internet. After returning from D.C., Lowry said she was swamped with letters from around the country written to this veteran.

In addition to the donation for Honor Flight, the Carter County Republican Party also made a contribution of $300 to the Elizabethton High School Men’s Ensemble, who performed during the Lincoln Day Dinner.

For more information on Honor Flight of Northeast Tennessee, contact Edie Lowry at 423-330-6189 or visit them online at