Randy Provence

Randy Provence, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and of the United States Navy, served as a hospital corpsman in the Vietnam War. He had been on a waiting list for four years before being selected to be on the May 23, 2023 Greater Peoria Honor Flight.

From the Honor Flight website: “Greater Peoria Honor Flight recognizes the sacrifices made by our military every day to ensure our freedom. To show our gratitude, we honor veterans with a life-changing trip to Washington DC to visit the memorials & experience a day of honor and thanks.”
Randy Provence and daughter Britt Brady
The organization was started in Ohio in 2005 by a Veterans Administration Physician Assistant who realized that the WW II vets he was seeing would probably never make the trip to Washington DC to see the newly completed WW II Memorial there. He approached a pilots’ association and asked for volunteers to fly some of those vets there. From this, numerous organizations and individuals have expanded this idea and made it possible for thousands of vets to visit their memorials in DC. They concentrate on those older and in poorer health from WW II to Vietnam era.

Britt Brady, Randy’s daughter, went on the trip also as his “guardian” (spouses are not allowed to fill this role). The trip consisted of a banquet the night before, to a trip to DC to see Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, WW II, Marine, Air Force, FDR, Navy, Vietnam, Korea & Lincoln Memorials. On the flight back the vets received “mail call”, which were cards & letters from friends & families thanking them for their service.

Randy Provence is welcomed home.

When the plane landed at Peoria, the airport was filled with well-wishers waving signs and flags, along with bands & bagpipes. There was much

cheering, handshaking, hugs, pictures, balloons, & “welcome homes”!  It was very emotional for everyone since many of these vets got no ceremony or thanks when they returned from serving their country many years before. To have experienced this so close to Memorial Day was even more meaningful. This is definitely a worthwhile organization to support. As the saying goes, “We live in the land of the free because of the brave.”

Randy Provence in Washington DC.