For the past three months, children attending Sunday school at Faith Lutheran Church have been donating for one purpose: to send a U.S. military veteran on an Honor Flight.
During Sunday's church service, with Sunday school students present, third-grade Sunday school teacher Mike Zielinski showed them the culmination of their giving. He presented a check for $300 — the cost of sending one veteran on an honor flight — to the Central Missouri Honor Flight.
"Every quarter we raise money in Sunday school offering for different charitable causes, and so this quarter, we decided to raise money for the Honor Flight," Zielinski said.
He presented the check to Nicole Slusser, a volunteer for Central Missouri Honor Flight.
Slusser comes from a military family herself. She works for Veterans of Foreign Wars. Her brother, Jeremy Amick, writes a weekly military column for the News Tribune on behalf of Silver Star Families. He has also published several military books.
Slusser thanked Zielinski and his students for the donation.
"It takes $300 to send a veteran on the flight, and they pay nothing," Slusser said. "Central Missouri Honor Flight is one of the few organizations that, when you give money to them, 100 percent of it goes to the actual organization. It is worked by volunteers and nobody gets paid."
The nonprofit Honor Flight program takes veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at their war memorials. Senior veterans or those who are terminally ill have priority.
"I want you all to realize the whole purpose of Central Missouri Honor Flight is to thank vets for their sacrifice just like when you (worship) in here this Sunday you thank God for the sacrifice of his Son," Slusser said.
Zielinski and Slusser talked about the possibility of an Honor Flight volunteer giving a report to Faith's Sunday school students after the next Honor Flight takes place in spring.