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Anyone who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II can take a Pride and Honor Flights of Michigan trip to the national World War II Memorial in Washington at no charge.
To sign up, donate, volunteer or find out about upcoming trips, call Faye or Jack Wiseley at (734) 426-8931.
You can also e-mail the Wiseleys at
Visit the Pride and Honor Web site at www.rc.net/org/ prideandhonorflight.
When Jack Wiseley retired in 2000 from the Ford Ypsilanti (Mich.) Plant, he had no idea what retirement would bring. That changed in a big way in 2006 when he and his wife, Faye, watched a CBS news feature about trips for World War II veterans to the WWII Memorial in Washington.
"It was something that really moved Faye, and we decided that it was something that we had to do," said Jack, a UAW Local 849 retiree. "When that show ended, Faye got on the Internet, started researching and she has had a fire in her belly ever since."
He added, "It has been very rewarding for both of us."
"I feel so much passion for these vets," Faye said, adding that the trip gives the vets time to share stories and bond. "That one day is so special for them, and that makes me happy."
In February 2007 the Wiseleys founded Pride and Honor Flights of Michigan Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides air fair from Detroit to Baltimore, bus rentals and food in Washington for WWII vets. Each trip, which costs about $30,000, accommodates 114 people, including more than 80 vets who travel free, plus volunteers who pay their own way. The couple organized five trips in 2007 and will sponsor a half-dozen this year.
Much of the money comes from spaghetti dinners, dances, golf outings, silent auctions and bottle deposit drives, said Jack, adding at least 97 percent of money raised goes directly to the trips and legal fees to maintain nonprofit status. The rest comes out of the Wiseleys' pockets.
In March the Congressional Medal of Honor Society named Faye as Michigan's Above & Beyond Citizen honoree for her work with Pride and Honor Flights. In February the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News selected the Wiseleys as its 2008 Citizens of the Year.
Although Jack is retired, Faye juggles a full-time job in the property management office at Domino's Farms in Ann Arbor, while keeping a full plate booking flights, making meal arrangements and keeping things moving with Pride and Honor.
Jack spends up to eight hours a day on the telephone, exchanging e-mails, talking with veterans, arranging fund raisers and handling trip details.
Though the trips are open to WWII vets everywhere, Faye pledges she won't stop until there are no local vets who have not seen the memorial.
Faye is the one who makes every trip with the vets. "If I go, too," said Jack, "that takes a seat away from a vet."
The memorial, which opened April 29, 2004, some 59 years after the war ended, is located in the nation's capital and honors the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.
The average age of veterans who visit the memorial with the Wiseleys is mid-80s, Jack said. The one-day trip starts with a departing flight at 7:15 a.m. and a return home around 9:30 p.m.
It's impossible to narrow it down to one or two things that make the trips so rewarding, Jack said. "There are 100 stories, and there are moments that you just can't forget."
Jack explained that Faye jokingly cautions female volunteers taking the trip for the first time to dress casually and with no makeup. "One volunteer didn't realize why Faye said not to wear makeup, but she found out as the veterans made their way through the Baltimore airport," he said.
"People in the airport saw the veterans and stood up and started applauding. It's absolutely amazing, but they always do," he said of the emotional welcome. "Faye looked over at the volunteers, and there was mascara (running) everywhere."