Local Veterans Participate in Honor Flight, NV
By Karen Pedersen
A very small percentage of our population dedicates themselves to protecting the freedoms we have come to love and cherish. According to the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, less than 10% of the US population have served our nation in the military. Only 11% of that population are women. Showing appreciation for this elite group of citizens is part of the fabric of the United States of America. Parades, holidays, memorials, and military cemeteries are a few ways we honor those who have humbly served their nation. Another unique way to show appreciation to these treasured citizens is Honor Flight. Honor Flight transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
Dana and Linda Skroch, together with their two sons had the privilege and honor of attending Honor Flight, Nevada as the first four-member family in the history of our state to participate in this memorable and rewarding tour. Linda and Dana both served in the United States Air Force in the 1970’s and their sons Dave and Stephen served in the Marines. For the Skroch’s this adventure held impactful meaning while making memories and friends along the way. “This trip was especially meaningful because we were able to experience it with my family. Everyone took to the boys, and I was forever known as “Mama Linda” during this trip.
There were so many memorable moments during our Honor Flight.” Linda stated as she shared her experience. Honor Flight volunteers made the entire trip memorable. “We were greeted so warmly by so many people when we arrived at the airport in Baltimore, including the US Naval Academy lacrosse team, a high school group, Coast Guard members, and so many other people. Everyone was cheering, waving flags, and welcoming us to Washington, D.C. We were all very touched.”
While in Washington, D.C. the Skroch’s visited most of the military and veteran memorials including Military Women’s Memorial, a new memorial dedicated to honoring the commitment and contributions of America’s servicewoman. Linda was one of six military women on this year’s Nevada Honor Flight. Each of the women were inducted into the Military Women’s Memorial database and received a plaque that included their picture, rank, branch of service, and accomplishments. This was unexpected, and a very proud moment for Linda. Linda was also honored to be part of the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s national military cemetery.
A highlight of their trip was touring the National Holocaust Museum with a Holocaust survivor who happens to live in Sparks, Nevada. “It is incredible to see what people were capable of during that time, both the perpetrators of such horrible crimes, and those who survived,” Linda said in reflection. She and her family were inspired by the perseverance of the survivors, especially after gaining a deeper understanding of the evil and uncertainty they faced. The motto of the National Holocaust Museum is “Never Again” and “Never Forget”. Linda and her family will never forget. “-and we won’t! Believe me.”
On the final night honorees of Honor Flight, Nevada were showered with letters from across the country. Letters were from fellow veterans, Blue Star Moms, and school children all thanking attendees for their service. The Skroch’s were overwhelmed with gratitude and love.
There were many big surprises and unexpected moments on their journey, but one of the biggest was that they discovered a fellow Yerington community member, Steven Ward, accompanied them as a member of the staff. “It was really good to get to know him!” Linda stated gleefully.
Service to their community and nation is part of who Linda and Dana are. They have raised their kids with biblical principles and the golden rule, “Mathew 7:12: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.” Anyone who knows the Skrochs can attest to their kindness, and Linda’s infectious smile. On a personal note, I have had the privilege of working with Linda for years in the local school district. Linda was the nurse at Yerington High School. When our family faced uncertain health scares, she was always there as a guiding force and comfort. I never knew of her and her families service to our nation. She, Dana, Dave and Stephen embody the humble bravery we see in all of our veterans.
On a closing note, Linda would strongly encourage any veteran in the community to check out Honor Flight Nevada at honorflightnv.org, click on the application form to apply for this experience. To her and her family “This truly was a trip of a lifetime.”
To donate to Honor Flight Nevada, go to honorflightnv.org. 100% of donations go to helping every single veteran in America willing and able to make this trip.