GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Volunteers are everything to veterans and help them with everything they need. For some, like Anita Lawrence, it's very personal. "It's just so moving to see the men come and see the tears streaming down their faces and just hearing their stories. It's just incredible," Lawrence said.
For others, it's a way to honor family. "My father served in World War II and my husband served in Vietnam, and I just wanted to do it to honor veterans," Martha Harper said.
The captain of this 7th and final Honor Flight has been on several of these dramatic journeys, and he says he wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. "It's actually a pretty emotional experience," said Capt. David Sun.
"It's one of the few times you're really happy to come to work and these guys have a debt that we can't re-pay."
Long time volunteers, such as Lori Turner, know this was a true calling. "This is the actually the greatest thing I have ever done. It's wonderful to see their faces, their expressions. I'm actually a military brat, as they call us, and it helps me take on my father's legacy," Turner said.
Those volunteering for the first time feel privileged. Chuck Patterson is one of them. "Oh, it's an honor. I think it's a real honor to escort veterans and it's a learning experience for me," Patterson said.
According to Travis Moore, this effort comes from the heart. "This is very emotional to give them the opportunity to be able to go see the World War II memorial, the memorial that they fought for, and it's a very rewarding feeling to let them know we do support them," Moore said.
"We honor them and let them know we appreciate their service."
This last Honor Flight will return to the airport about 7:40 p.m. Several hundred people are expected to give the veterans a hero's welcome home.
During the seven flights, almost 600 veterans have made the trip to the nation's capital.