87-year-old WWII veteran chosen for Indy Honor Flight, first ever plane ride

87-year-old WWII veteran Woodrow Wilson Hairl has been chosen to be among the veterans in Indy Honor Flight. Indy Honor Flight transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices.

There are two ways that you can be part of this special event:

Operation Mail Call
Write a letter to Woodrow for him to read on his flight back on April 5

Indy Honor Flight
c/o Mail Call for Woodrow Wilson Hairl
9093 S. State Road 39
Mooresville, IN 46158
(Due date March 28)

Or, be part of Woodrow’s homecoming. Most of the heroes never received a homecoming.

Welcome Home
At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5 at the Indianapolis Airport you can welcome him home. (Arrive at the food court around 8 p.m. for a good spot). Bring American Flags, signs, banners and as many people as you can.

Woodrow served under General George S. Patton and traveled all over Europe from 1945-46 as a member of the US Army. He traveled on the Queen Mary from Washington D.C. to France. 3 days 3,000 soldiers.

“I was just a southern boy growing up in Greenville, Mississippi before the war. We raised cotton, corn, and peanuts.”

Despite his military record and accolades, Woodrow is remarkably modest. “This is what was asked of us. This is what we did. When I left Germany we were heading to Japan and they dropped the atomic bomb and that’s when I got out and got out of the military,” he adds.

But Woodrow struggled to keep a job which led to financial hardship. He came to HVAF in 2012 for help.

“If it wasn’t for HVAF, I don’t know where I’d get my next meal.”

Once a month for the past year, Woodrow has been relying on HVAF for food, toothbrushes, deodorant, clothes and other hygiene items that help get him through each month. Woodrow has made a lasting impression on HVAF staff members as well as outreach volunteer, Jim Thompson.

“When I first met him he told me he was a WWII veteran and we mostly see Vietnam era-veterans. I thought he’d be a good candidate for the Indy Honor Flight, whose mission is to transport American's veterans to Washington DC to visit several Memorials, but then I didn’t see him again for six months. I owe him because everything I have is because of people like him,” says Jim, and “I plan to be his sponsor on the trip.”

“I’m very excited to have been selected for Indy Honor Flight and to see these monuments on April 5,” says Woodrow. I'd like to think I leave a little history and I hope I did some good in this world and I think I did," he said.