FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Dozens of Central Valley veterans are on the trip of a lifetime with more than 60 of our hometown heroes took off for Washington D.C.
It's the ultimate thank you to our men and women of service with 68 veterans representing 26 hometowns in nine counties took off for to see memorials built in their honor.
"This is a once in a lifetime deal and I'll bring it with me all the days of my life," Korean War veteran Joseph Biscaglio said.
For Biscaglio this is a bittersweet trip. It'll be his first trip to the nation's capital that could reveal a war reality he hopes he doesn't see. Bisaglio will look for the name of his friend and fellow soldier, Ronald Suninshine.
"I hope that he's still with us," he said. "And I hope that we may have a reunion with God's saving grace."
Over the last three years, the Central Valley Honor Flight has raised close to $3 million, sending hundreds of veterans and their guardians on a tour of honor.
"It's from over 2,800 individuals, small businesses, credit unions we have no big white night corporate sponsors," Al Perry with the organization explained.
Perry, the board president and a two-year Vietnam-era veteran, helped make all 12 flights possible and is now taking his final trip, but not without being commended for his work. He said veteran reactions at homecoming are why he's served as board president since 2013.
"There are tears in their eyes and they say, 'That's the welcome home I never got.' So, that's powerful," he said.
Perry said he'll still be involved with the Central Valley Honor Flight and 140 Korean War veterans are already on the waitlist for next year.
The next Central Valley Honor Flight is scheduled for April of 2017.