Since April 12th, 2014 the Twin Tiers Honor Flight, an official hub of the Honor Flight Network, a federally recognized 501 (c) (3) organization, has been escorting local veterans to Washington, D.C. free of charge, so that they can see their war memorials. While these trips are free for our veterans, they come with a hefty price tag for the Twin Tiers Honor Flight. The average Honor Flight trip can cost upwards of $80,000 but the cost is worth it.

Because the Twin Tiers Honor Flight is a not-for-profit, fully volunteer organization, they completely rely on the generosity of donors and fundraisers. Fundraisers like the one the students of Maine Memorial Elementary School coordinated this school year.

Since February, students at Maine Memorial have been collecting gently worn shoes for the Twin Tiers Honor Flight.  For each pound of shoes collected, Funds2Orgs pays the Twin Tiers Honor Flight $.40.

9-year-old Evelyn O'Neil, a student at Maine Memorial, has an uncle in the military and her heart was so touched by the efforts of the Twin Tiers Honor Flight and the shoe drive at school that she couldn't wait to get home and tell her dad all about it. Once he heard the story, Evelyn's dad wanted to help and so he went to work and asked his co-workers to also collect shoes.

Together, the students of Maine Memorial and the employees of NBT Insurance Agency and NBT Bank collected over five thousand pairs of shoes which is impressive when you consider that those 5,000 shoes might have otherwise ended up somewhere in a landfill. Instead, they'll not only help people in third world countries but also veterans right here in the Southern Tier!

[via Twin Tiers Honor Flight]