Wichita members on
parade for veterans
About 20 SPEEA members and their families handed out
2,000 American flags along the route for the Wichita Veterans
Parade, Nov. 7. Wichita Council Rep Aaron Kitterman
drove his truck in the parade with SPEEA signs on the side. He
had a special guest in the passenger seat – Raymond Franz,
a Korean War veteran. Council Rep Pat Clough, chair of the
Membership Activities Committee (MAC), noted how the flags
(with SPEEA stickers) were such a hit with parade watchers.
“It was fun to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they get a
flag.” Clough is holding the banner with his wife, Cyndi.
Franz is standing next to SPEEA member Dee Martin.
Join SPEEA members
for holiday events
The regional Membership Activities Committees organized the following holiday events for members and their
Free photos with Santa
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pets welcome from noon to 2 p.m. only
Saturday, Dec. 5 - SPEEA Everett
Saturday, Dec. 12 - SPEEA Tukwila
Donations are welcome for the food bank or
Everett Toys for Tots.
Bowling with Santa
1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Derby Bowl
RSVP by Dec. 4 and include the names/ages of
your family who are 12 and under. To sign up,
Lights on St. Paul
5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17
Volunteer with others for SPEEA Night at the
Lights – help direct traffic and collect donations
for the Arc of Sedgwick County. To sign up,
Volunteering on ‘One Last
Mission’ an honor
Richard Thorkildson has never seen a U.S. Marine cry until he volunteered as a photographer with the Puget Sound
Honor Flight on “One Last Mission.”
That’s when he witnessed a veteran of World
War II in front of the Marines memorial in
Washington, D.C. “He just started crying – he
was remembering Normandy,” Thorkildson said.
The veteran said he was one of the first soldiers off
the landing craft in Northern France when he took
a bullet. He survived because of protection from
the dead soldiers who fell on top of him. “He (the
veteran) said it was the only reason he survived.”
Thorkildson, a Renton Council Rep, shared his
experience during the November Northwest
Council meeting ‘Good of the Union’ along with a
brief slide show featuring the veterans, many who
were in their 90s, who were part of this mission.
Puget Sound Honor Flight raises money to pay
for travel expenses for veterans to see the military memorials in Washington, D.C. Volunteers,
such as Thorkildson, pay their own way to join
the trip. Alaska Airlines provided free tickets to
the veterans, as well as a special reception at the
start of the mission and a special ceremony when
they returned to the airport.
Thorkildson, a production engineer Subject
One of the veterans on this
recent mission was the only
woman. She is 92 and was
in Pearl Harbor when the
Japanese attacked Dec. 7,
Another noteworthy veteran worked at Boeing and was on the team that
built the moon rover, Thorkildson said. On one
of the three days of the trip, Thorkildson wore a
SPEEA shirt, and noted at least half the group
of veterans recognized SPEEA from their time
Thorkildson signed on to the trip after his friend
and fellow Seattle Photography Club leader was
recruited. Both of them were filling in for other
Honor Flight volunteer photographers.
He took more than 700 photos and commented
how busy everyone was – including an emergen-
cy room physician and several nurses who also
volunteered. “It’s not that tough with 55 people,
but when some of them are in wheelchairs…”
That’s why Thorkildson said the significance of the
trip didn’t quite hit him until he was home. “I was so
busy it didn’t hit me – I was totally exhausted,” but
he still stayed up for hours (until 1 a.m.) telling his
son about the trip. “It was a very emotional time.”
Learn more at pugetsoundhonorflight.org.
Photo by Council Rep Richard Thorkildson