On October 4-8, 2007, Pines Village Retirement Communities took World
War II and Korean War veterans to Washington D.C. A support team accompanied the veterans and included Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and City Administrator Bill Hanna along with medical staff and community volunteers. This Tour of Duty was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these veterans, who are now in their seventies and eighties, to pay tribute to their fallen comrades. The group had the honor of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Other highlights included stops at the National WW II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a visit to the White House.
“The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004 which means these men and women had not had the chance to pay their respects,” said Laurie Mullet, Pines Village CEO. The Memorial honors the 16 million who served, the more than 400,000 who died and all who supported the effort from the home front. “We felt a responsibility to make this an all-expense-paid trip to show our profound appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice to our county. We had to rely on the financial support of others to make this possible, and with the help of the community raised over $155,000 to pay for the trip. The outpouring of generosity has been tremendous and we can’t say thank you enough,” said Mullet.
Pines Village baked and sold over 45,000 cookies to help raise money for the trip. Due to popular demand, cookies are still available for order.
The Post Tribune newspaper followed the journey and published a series of articles titled Trip of Honor: World War II Veterans Visit Memorial. To read the series, visit the News and Events page.
To Request a copy of the Tour of Duty Video / DVD, call (219) 465-1591.