Iowa high school student raising funds for Midwest Honor Flight

Iowa high school student raising funds for Midwest Honor Flight
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:20 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Since 2017, Midwest Honor Flight has been taking veterans on one final tour with honor.

More than 1,000 veterans have made the trip to Washington D.C. to view the memorials from the wars they served.

A high schooler from Iowa is helping to fundraise so even more veterans can make the trip.

Aaron Van Beek is the founder and CEO of Midwest Honor Flight, and now his sister Elsie has found her own way to get involved, using cupcakes.

Elsie has been involved in Midwest Honor Flight, since the very beginning.

“Honor flight was kind of like a second family,” Elsie said.

She serves as what is called the patriot princess.

“I handed out dog tags to the veterans when they come home and welcome them home,” Elsie said.

That wasn’t enough Elsie, after hearing from Aaron and the veterans how incredible of an experience it is, she wanted to go on a flight herself to see firsthand.

“I asked him how I could get on a flight, and he said to raise $50,000 and then you can sponsor a flight and get on,” Elsie said.

She went straight to work, baking cupcakes and selling them at markets and other events in the area.

“At the beginning I really doubted myself, but here we are,” Elsie said.

Since June of 2021, Elsie Honors has raised over $46,000, and she hopes to hit the goal by March to sponsor Flight 15, which will take place sometime this summer.

“Since they did the best that they could I should do my best for them because that’s the least they deserve,” Elsie said.

The Van Beek family is heavily involved with the armed forces, Elsie’s sister and cousin serve in the Army National Guard, and her grandfathers also served in World War II, this is where the passion to give back to veterans stems from.

“They fought for our freedom so it’s the least that we can do to give them one free flight to go see the memorials and get respected because they deserve all the respect that they can get.”

Since Elsie is only 14 years old she is unable to attend a flight as a guardian, which is why she has set out to raise the $50,000.

The best way that you can help her reach her goal is by making a donation on the Elsie honors Facebook page.