The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Deb Olson, The Quill La Harpe Office Manager
Two La Harpe Korean War veterans, Claude Collins and Carl Reeder have been selected to make an Honor Flight to Washington, DC on Thursday, May 19th.
Both men will be accompanied by their sons, William Collins, and Byron Reeder. The two sons are also military veterans.
In preparation for the trip, all four will attend an orientation session in Hannibal, MO on Monday, May 16th.
The Honor Flight was born out of the desire of retired Air Force Captain Earl Morse a physician s assistant, who simply wanted to honor the veterans among the patients he had cared for during his career. After completion of the World War II Memorial in 2004, Morse questioned his veteran patients about making a trip to their new monument in Washington DC. Most expressed the desire to see it, but also voiced concerns about finances, time constraints, and health problems that made the trip seem like an unattainable dream.
Sharing his vision with other pilots, Morse began the program with veteran charter pilots in May of 2005. These pilots were willing to fly the Honor Flight honorees in their own planes.
In Washington they served as the vets tour guides in visiting the memorial. Then, they flew them home. All concerned were moved by the experience.
By 2006 the group was raising money to make arrangements with commercial airlines to transport the veterans to Washington DC. To date, an estimated 159,703 veterans have made the trip, with numbers growing each day. The La Harpe men and their sons will become a part of that experience on May 19th.
Claude Collins served as a personnel clerk with the U. S. Army s 304th Signal Battalion, a unit whose assignment was to provide communications for the 8th Army in Korea. He remembers his time in Korea as a good duty .
After leaving the service, Claude returned to Illinois. He married Rose Shaver in Abingdon on July 21, 1968. They have three children, two daughters, Betty Peterson of Burlington, IA and Juliana (Karl) Thompson of Lomax and a son William (Bobbi) Collins of Carthage. Rose Collins died June 3, 2008.
Before his retirement, Claude worked in maintenance at Western Illinois University. He's a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, founded in the U.S. in 1984. RMEF is committed to: conserving, restoring, and enhancing natural habitats; promoting the sound management of wild, free-ranging elk, which may be hunted or otherwise enjoyed.
Carl Reeder served in the U. S Navy. He trained at the Great Lakes Naval Station, afterwards serving out of the Naval Station in Seattle.
He spoke about the differences between his time in the navy and that of his son Byron, who served in the time of a nuclear navy.
Upon his return to civilian life, Reeder married Donna White in La Harpe on September 2, 1956. He worked for the phone company in several locations, retiring in 1992.
Carl and his wife then returned to La Harpe. The couple had three sons, Byron (Julie) Reeder of Independence Iowa, Mark (Faith) Reeder of Woodstock, GA and Mike (Tammy) Reeder of Grimes, IA.
According to the official schedule at (https://honorflightdca.com/schedule/) from the Great River Honor Flight out of St Louis, the 35 vets on this trip, among them Collins and Reeder and their sons, will visit The Korean Memorial, The World War II Memorial and attend a Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
On that day Carl Reeder and Claude Collins will stand as fulfilling the stated purpose of the Honor Flight which is to transport as many US military veterans as possible to Washington DC to visit the memorials for the wars in which they served at no cost to the veteran.
Several citizens of La Harpe have expressed appreciation and pride for the service of both Claude Collins and Carl Reeder. In the spirit of the greatest generation these men and their son s all answered their country s call and are now receiving some much deserved recognition for that service.
If you have a friend or relative who you feel has earned the right by their military service to participate in Honor Flight visit http://www.honorflight.org/veteran-application/ to download an application.
GROUP: 35 veterans Great River HF STL
ARRIVAL: BWI (departure greeting only)