Southern Colorado Honor Flight honors Valley WWII veterans


jack doc cotton, richard gottlieb

Doc Cotton and Richard Gottlieb shaking hands with military personnel at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

San Luis Valley residents, Jack "Doc" Cotton, Adams State University emeritus professor of exercise, physiology, and leisure science; and Richard Gottlieb joined twenty-one other World War II veterans from Southern Colorado on the Honor Flight from Colorado to Washington D.C. from May 1 through May 4.

The Southern Colorado Honor Flight is a Colorado Springs based non-profit that relies on donations in order to allow all veterans selected for the flight to participate at no cost. The program is a way to thank veterans from all military branches for their service to the United States. Events and activities are designed to strengthen relationships between veterans and to allow the public to thank a veteran for their service to our country.

Currently, the priority is given to WWII veterans or veterans with a terminal illness but who are able to fly. The program utilizes volunteer "guardians" for each veteran that are required to complete an orientation and training event. Guardians are required to find a sponsor or cover the cost of their travel and stay themselves.

Cotton and Gottlieb returned to the valley from the Honor Flight both exhausted and energized. The two veterans are eager to let other veterans know about this opportunity. Gottlieb said: "It was a trip of a life time."

Cotton agreed: "I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie we experienced."

The focal point for the trip was the WWII Monument that commemorates those who served, including the 401,000 U.S. troops that perished during the war. Visits to the Korean and Vietnam Memorials, the Washington Navy Yard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Jefferson Memorial were also on the schedule.

For more information or to donate to the program, visit Southern Colorado Honor Flight online or call 719-287-6095.