Margaret Latchford, a Junior member of the American Legion Auxiliary and daughter of Virginia Beach Post 110 Commander Wes Latchford, was recently recognized by Honor Flight Historic Triangle Virginia (HFHTVA) for her developing a letter writing campaign to reach out to World War II veterans letting them know about Honor Flight. Mr. Matt Hartman, Director of HFHTVA, presented the certificate and stated this was the first time he was aware of that someone had taken the initiative to directly contact World War II veterans through a Veteran Service Organization to let them know about HFHTVA. Post 110 reciprocated by presenting Mr. Hartman with a donation of $150.00 to help send a World War II veteran on one of HFHTVA’s trips.
An 8th grader at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach, Margaret said, “Since America felt it important to build a memorial to the service and ultimate sacrifice of its World War II veterans, the Honor Flight Network and I believe it’s equally important that they actually get to visit and experience THEIR memorial.”
Margaret and her dad went through the membership listing of the 400+ people who belong to Virginia Beach Post 110 to identify individuals whose era of service was listed as World War II; over 60 Legionnaires in all. She then wrote a personal letter to each veteran explaining to them what HFHTVA was all about. Once the letters were done, she stuffed envelopes that included her letter, an application form for them to sign up for the next trip to Washington, DC, and a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could mail it back directly to HFHTVA. She also included information so they could contact her if they had any other questions or needed help filling out the application.
As a result of her efforts, four of Virginia Beach Post 110’s World War II veterans were able to sign up for and participate in the October 2010 trip. Several others are currently getting ready for the April 2011 trip.