Category Archives: Honor Flight Chicago

TGIF

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Happy Friday! Do you have exciting plans for the weekend? Tonight, I am packing up the mail call for eighty-some World War II veterans for our first Honor Flight of the season. Thankfully, my friend and fellow volunteer Barb is coming over tonight to help. I’m excited to try out some new systems this year to see what we can do more efficiently and effectively. I’m determined to keep this big volunteer job tucked into a tiny corner of my mind so I can enjoy the summer.

We have nothing on our calendars for tomorrow, so I am hoping to get some things done around our apartment and finalize our plans for Naoto’s Welcome Back to Food party next weekend. I sent out the invitations today (and will share them here next week) and I’m excited to think up some menu ideas and some easy decorations that can be tackled next week (crossing fingers).

And coffee…there will be coffee.

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Gearing Up for Volunteer Work Again…

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If you’ve been reading long enough, you know I spent a significant amount of time collecting and sorting mail for Honor Flight Chicago. (If you haven’t been following along, this post explains it all.) I’ve had a lovely (and much needed) break from mail call since our Honor Flight season goes only from the spring to the fall, although if you looked at my four foot pile of school mail that has come in over the winter, you would wonder if there really was a break!

Now we have our dates set for the 2013 season. I wasn’t surprised to see that there are only five flights for this season. For the past few years, we’ve done ten flights…but World War II veterans are getting older and slowing down, and filling flights is more of a challenge with the unpredictable medical situations facing the men and women of this age group.

So, if you live in Chicagoland and would like to thank a World War II veteran in person for his or her service to our country, please consider attending a Welcome Home Celebration at Midway Airport. It is magical, it is emotional, it is patriotic, it is unforgettable…

If you don’t live in Chicagoland and would like to thank a World War II veteran for his or her service to our country, please consider writing a letter. Last year when I started the mail collecting adventure the Letter Writers Alliance helped spread the word about Honor Flight to their members and I received a lot of great letters–some from as far as the Netherlands (thanks, Cath!)–to fill the mail packs of veterans with no families. If you would like to participate, you can find the address here under the Thank A Vet tab.

Our flights for the 2013 season are April 17, May 14, June 12, July 10 and August 7. If you would like to attend a Welcome Home, be at Midway Airport’s baggage claim area by 8pm on the flight day of your choice. If you would like to send a letter, feel free to send one at your leisure. Our mail call deadline is the Friday before each flight, so your last chance to send a letter is August 2nd.

And finally, if you know of a World War II veteran who hasn’t flown with Honor Flight but might like to, please have him or her fill out the application and send it in.

And now, back to taking pictures of my shiny clean desks (and to start tackling the new mess I created in the second bedroom).

Photo from here

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Veterans Day

 

Thank you.

 

photo from the Honor Flight Chicago October 23, 2012 flight

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Digging Out

 

This week has been all about reclaiming my home and my time from Mail Call–eventually I promise to stop talking about it…at least for a few months.

Above is a picture of what my dining room looked like on Monday night while I was packing up the Veterans’ mail packs. I was using the buffet, a side table from the living room and the dining table to spread all of the personal, general and student mail so I could build each veteran’s Mail Call and pack them all up in the backpacks. At one point, I was working on the floor because I didn’t have any table space left, but as I made my way through the alphabet, I graduated to a chair and the dining table.

On Tuesday, after my morning volunteer shift and a nap, I sorted through all of the mail call stuff and packed it up to take it to the airport office for winter storage. This is what it looked like (not counting the 18 backpacks that were on the flight). I had ten empty banker’s boxes (used for sorting mail), five boxes of leftover general & student mail, two boxes of stuff and eight empty boxes for recycling and eight USPS bins that I’ve accidentally been hoarding. (Don’t worry, I’ve already given them back to my trusty letter carrier.) It took three cart trips to take it all downstairs to my car, and a handful of wonderful volunteers to help me carry it all into the office.

I’m going to say it again–it feels good to have some space back around here! Now, back to the rest of the clean-up!

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Another Post About Mail Call…

It was a close call*, but all of the mail for the 2012 season is packed up and ready to be “delivered” to the eighty-six Veterans on the flight home tonight. I did 100% of the mail call work for this flight yesterday–on the day before the flight–CRAZY! But it worked out fine, and I found myself quite productive under pressure. I wrote 100% of my college papers on the night before they were due (ahem, or on the day they were due!), so this was merely a procrastinator’s flashback.

I’m heading back to the airport in a bit for the Welcome Home, then coming home and crashing in my bed tonight to catch up on the sleep. (I stayed up too late last night watching the debate coverage and the Bears game!) And, I’ve promised my dear, ever-so-patient husband that I will put our home back together again tomorrow…maybe I’ll post some before/after pictures so you can gasp at the insanity around here. (Or maybe not.)

*exaggeration…I was done by 9 last night. I had to have the mail at the airport by 3:15 this morning…plenty of time!

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the Last Mail Call of 2012

 

Today I will be working on sorting and packing mail for our last Honor Flight of 2012. And, though I love my volunteer job and I love my mailman and I love doing something for these deserving veterans, I am so ready to have my house back. No more piles of mail sitting around, no more file boxes in my spare bedroom and dining room, no more lugging backpacks to the car…and, I am ready to have some time back to craft and write letters and clean and get ready for the holidays. (I don’t mean to sound complainey…I am just ready for a little break.)

So, off to sort and pack up a few thousand pieces of mail for eighty-some veterans…the flight is tomorrow morning and I have a lot of work to do!

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another flight day

Honor Flight Chicago, Legacy Girls

Today is another Honor Flight, the third-to-last of the season. The car has been loaded up with approximately six thousand pieces of mail for 95 veterans. And, as long as you’re reading this on Wednesday, I am most likely at Midway Airport or I’m sleeping. I don’t do much of anything else on Flight Days.

Pictured above are the Legacy Girls with one of our veterans from last month’s flight. The Legacy Girls are an Andrews Sisters tribute group. They entertain our World War Two veterans at the gate before each flight, singing all of the old favorites like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and many patriotic songs. It is quite a party with flags and bunting, coffee and donuts and lots of excitement about the day ahead.

I will be back tomorrow, sleep & photography willing, with some pictures of our guest bathroom for your enjoyment–a little “reality check” in our 1970s condo!

In the meantime…

picture from the Honor Flight Chicago website

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Under a pile of mail

I had some other posts planned for this week, but my volunteer stuff is kicking my butt again. I wish I wasn’t such a procrastinator on the weeks that are empty…it would make these weeks that are full of work and volunteering a little less “full”. Oh, and our apartment is a mess! Mail everywhere, craft projects everywhere, newspapers, laundry and new furniture…YES! I said new furniture! We are moving full speed ahead on finishing the messy side of the living room! It’s so exciting, and scary at the same time. (Will everything look okay together? Will it fill up the space, or crowd the space? Do I need a rug there? What about art? These questions paralyze me…)

So, I thought I would share the Honor Flight Chicago Mail Call letters above. Most of the mail the veterans receive is pretty standard–a plain white letter, a plain card, maybe a few patriotic stickers. But when a letter has vintage postage, I take a moment and enjoy it. That 1942 “Win the War” stamp (top letter, left side, purple with a V and an eagle) is one of my favorites and I love that early stamps were very monochromatic…so lovely. I have a few old stamps, and this makes me want to break them out and use them on a special letter. Do you use vintage postage on your letters?

 

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mojito mint

Last week, my bookclub friend Peggy brought me some mojito mint from her garden. My mint is still painfully small, and the grocery store mint was pale and wilty, so this was a welcome treat for a summer drink. On Friday night, I decided to make myself a cocktail. We were out of rum, and I was anxious to try Broker’s gin, so I decided to whip up a gin mojito.

Gin Mojito (or Muddled Mint Gin Fizz)

10 mint leaves

4 lime wedges

1/2oz simple syrup

2oz gin

club soda

In your cocktail glass, muddle mint leaves and 1 lime wedge. Add the rest of the lime and continue to muddle until most of the juice is extracted from the limes. Add ice, simple syrup and gin. Stir. Top with club soda and stir again. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint leaf. I wish I could say I enjoyed this one on the balcony, but instead I was working on volunteer stuff. It was delicious though…I sometimes find it hard to mess with a classic, but in this drink, gin works!

 

***update: this drink is almost a Mint Gin Fizz, which has almost the same amounts of the ingredients, except you leave the mint leaves un-muddled…

Other than making mint & gin based cocktails, this is what I’ve been doing during the last few days of silence:

It’s time once again for another Honor Flight and my dining room has been transformed into the mail room again. Thanks to Peggy’s help, mail for 93 veterans is all packed up ready to go at 3:15 tomorrow morning! I’m going to try to get a good night’s sleep this time!

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

Pictured above is a World War II veteran who flew with Honor Flight Chicago in June. He is being thanked by a crowd of people who came to Midway Airport for the Welcome Home celebration. Photo taken from the Honor Flight website.