Buy a Light for Honor Flight: Fundraising for veterans

Though her father, a WWII veteran, did not get to make an Honor Flight during his lifetime, Roxy Knockel and Riverview Café are supporting the cause. Readers can participate in this fundraiser by purchasing a light from the strand pictured. (Press photo by Molly Moser)


By Molly Moser

Riverview Café is supporting America’s veterans with an ongoing fundraiser for Honor Flight of Greater Dubuque. “Buy a Light for Honor Flight,” allows participating businesses to give away a cash prize to one lucky winner and simultaneously raise money for a noble cause.

Honor Flight provides WWII and Korean War veterans with the opportunity to see and experience the memorials built in their honor in Washington, D.C., at no cost. While traveling, veterans are cared for by volunteer guardians from the community which include doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians and area community caregivers.

Vets and their spouses meet with their guardian for an evening meal on the night before their flight. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning, a chartered flight departs from Dubuque and is greeted by an enthusiastic volunteer welcoming committee upon landing in D.C. 

Vets then board chartered buses for a tour that includes a visit to the World War II Memorial, the Korean Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Marine Corps Memorial. If time permits, the veterans may also visit the Air Force Memorial and drive past the White House. The day always ends at Arlington National Cemetery, with a viewing of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Vets fly home that same day, safely into the arms of family, friends, area firefighters, the local contingent of the Patriot Guard and the tri-state community who are there to welcome them home.

“My dad never got to go,” said Roxy Knockel, who is running the fundraiser at the Café. “I would have loved to have had him get to do it.” Knockel’s father is the late James Hankes. Hankes drove tanks during WWII, liberating two sub camps of Dachau during his deployment. 

“These guys fought for our country, and I thought the fundraiser would be a very nice thing to do,” Knockel told The Press. For $5, participants purchase one light on a string of holiday bulbs hanging on the south wall of the restaurant. The light is tagged with their name and phone number, and optionally with a name for a memorial. 

The lights stay lit at all times. When the first light burns out, the person who purchased it will be awarded $100. The remaining $400 will be donated to Honor Flight’s 2014 flights to Washington, D.C.

Free meal for veterans

In addition to this fundraiser, the Riverview Café will offer free meals to veterans on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 4. The restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and food will also be served at the bar downstairs.

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