Westminster at Lake Ridge Residents Honor Veterans

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By Dawn Klavon

Sponsored by Westminster at Lake Ridge

Westminster at Lake Ridge residents stand united to honor veterans’ groups from across America.

Once each month, a group called “Honor Flight Chicago” brings veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Arriving via Dulles International Airport, the group visits monuments and memorials in D.C. Westminster at Lake Ridge residents are part of a larger group who welcome the veterans as they deplane. They applaud them and help guide the veterans to their buses, so they can then enjoy a day touring the nation’s capital.

“Our residents enjoy welcoming our veterans because many of them are veterans themselves,” said Bella Rogerson, Transportation Coordinator for Westminster at Lake Ridge. “Our residents wave flags, shake hands and say thank you to our incoming heroes – many of the incoming Veterans are extremely emotional; they can’t believe that all these people are there to welcome them and thank them for their service.”

Participation in Honor Flight Chicago got started at Westminster at Lake Ridge when a resident (who is also a veteran) asked Rogerson to tell residents about the organization, since he knew she was already an Honor Flight volunteer. The residents were very interested, wanting to get involved. For the last several years, Westminster at Lake Ridge residents have participated, and say it’s been a very moving experience for everyone.

“I come from a military family and worked for most of my career for the Department of Defense,” said resident Priscilla Hopkins. “(The visiting veterans) are important and them coming to visit is an honor to us.”

Hopkins’ husband, John, volunteers with her and says other veterans like him enjoy the events.

“This was a way to give something back to fellow veterans,” he said, recalling greeting a vet who served on a sister ship of his over 50 years ago. Hopkins said their baseball caps identified them as serving on sister ships. He and his wife enjoy seeing surprise on the faces of the vets who weren’t expecting anyone to welcome them as they entered the airport terminal, shaking hands with so many veterans, and feeling their excitement as they made their way to the buses.

“I personally think Honor Flight Chicago is a valuable program for any organization,” Rogerson said. “We are welcoming our military heroes who fought for our freedom without regard to their own lives.”

For information on Westminster at Lake Ridge, a life plan community senior living community in Lake Ridge, please call 703-783-4355 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour.

Dawn Klavon is a contributing writer for Prince William Living.



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