With Honor Flights suspended due to COVID-19, nonprofit finds a new way to honor veterans

LOMBARD, Ill. – In suburban Lombard, it was a gift of honor to a Vietnam veteran with a message of gratitude.

Denny Pulchinski was a bright-eyed young man when he enlisted in the US Army during the Vietnam War.

He served state wide in Hawaii and handled classified records as a company clerk.

“Two stories underground in Hawaii, bringing up reports of the MIA and KIA to the general at 6 o’clock,” Pulchinski said.

Like so many before him, his service was set to be honored.

For years, honor flights in Chicago and around the country have taken thousands of veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam on chartered flights to Washington D.C. to see the memorials in person.

“The whole point is for them to feel honored and they can do that with their comrades in arms,” Doug Meffley with Honor Flight Chicago said.

Since the pandemic, the flights have stopped and their mission has change from the air to the ground.

Volunteers hand delivered more than 2,000 yard signs so far around the area.

“It means a lot to me, my whole family,” said Pulchinski. “it means a lot that they showed up and it means a lot to me, personally.”

A debt of honor from both sides of service.