Honor Flight Southern Arizona has been grounded this summer by a lack of funds.

We’re helping them get back in the air with our June Giving Projecthelping them to take our veterans to Washington D.C. to see the monuments erected in their honor.

“I came back in ’72 and I wouldn’t talk about it.”

Like many veterans of war, Kenneth Cousino didn’t talk about being in Vietnam. He was in the Air Force and worked on B-52 bombers.

“I wouldn’t tell anybody that I got the Bronze Star until 2 years ago,” Cousino shares with me.

That was about the time he got involved with Honor Flight Southern Arizona. Kenneth, along with his wife Donnaalso a Vietnam Veteran then went on an Honor Flight last fall.

“I think it’s very important because it’s a big ‘thank you’. Many people have not gotten that thank you,” says Donna.

Both Donna and Kenneth were moved at the Vietnam Memorial, seeing names of fallen men they knew personally etched into the wall.

They say the camaraderie they experienced with fellow veterans on the Honor Flight to the nation’s capitol was catharticthe opposite of what Kenneth experienced after returning from Vietnam in 1972.

“When we landed in San Francisco, this other military guy and I got spit on. I just said ‘Keep walking.'”

Compare that to Kenneth’s experience coming back from the honor flight, with hundreds of people at Tucson International Airport thanking him and his fellow veterans.

“Oh, when we got back in the terminal and saw all those people, unbelievable. The thanks was justI’ll never forget it.”

Kenneth believes Honor Flight Southern Arizona has an important role in helping Vietnam Vets get the respect they deserve:

“We need all of the Vietnam Veterans because they weren’t thanked when we came home. And we need to be thanked now.”

If you’d like to help get Honor Flight Southern Arizona back in the air, the group is accepting donations here on their website.

Your Giving Project donation qualifies for Arizona’s charitable tax credit.

Our partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will again match the first $500 in donation.

MORE: Honor Flight Southern Arizona: Giving veterans a chance to heal old wounds

Giving Project: Honor Flight Southern Arizona