Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 5



Honor Flight offers thanks to veterans
by Caleb Jones |


Lori, who also volunteers for Honor Flight.
They say Honor Flight changes people in a good
way. One anonymous Vietnam veteran had this to
say of the experience: "I really and truly came to
the realization that what I had been through and
the things I experienced 50 years ago WAS sincerely
appreciated by a grateful nation." Another participant said the trip helped him shake off some of
the anger and sorrow he needed to put behind him.
Others appreciate the opportunity to meet fellow
veterans and share memories.
Recognizing that all veterans are important to the
cause, Honor Flight makes no distinction between
those who fought on the front lines and those who
served back home. The organization gives priority

to the remaining World War II veterans and those
with terminal illnesses. But it encourages all eligible men and women to apply now.
For those of us interested in showing our respect
for these heroes, there are several ways to lend a
hand. First, it takes a lot of money to host an Honor
Flight. The latest trip for the Central Missouri Honor Flight, for example, cost $97,000. You can donate
to the cause or attend one of many fundraisers held
by the chapters.
You can also volunteer as a guardian. Honor
Flight guardians typically care for two to three veterans. Their role is to ensure the veterans enjoy
their trip, no matter what they need.
Another role is riding with the Honor Flight Riders. These folks help welcome the flights
back home by escorting their bus back
from the airport. Not a motorcycle rider?
You can still turn out to give them the
welcome they deserve.
While my Harley is long gone (my wife,
Lindsey, may have recommended it after
the birth of our children), the memory
of escorting the men and women who
put their lives on the line will forever be
etched in my memory. Every time I see
a motorcycle cruising down the road, I
think of the honor I had in showing a few
of our veterans the respect and appreciation for all they've done.
Opportunities to help and applications for the flights can be found on the
Honor Flight chapter websites. To find
one near you, visit

uite a few years ago, I was sitting at home
minding my own business and around 8
p.m. my cell phone rang. It was my dad,
Kenny, calling to see if I wanted to take
my Harley out for a "night ride." It was a dark, cold
night. Probably the worst kind of night to go on a
ride, but after he told me why we were going, I threw
on a couple of layers of hunting clothes and got the
bike out. That night I did something that I would
never forget. Dad, myself and a few hundred other
riders escorted some of our nation's sacred heroes
home from a much overdue trip. We were one of
many groups across the nation that welcomed
home an Honor Flight.
There are 130 chapters of Honor Flight
located in 45 states, and together they
have sent more than 222,000 veterans
to Washington, D.C. to tour the memorials. Last year alone 21,189 made the
journey, with the assistance of 19,000
volunteer guardians who helped them
enjoy the trip. Seven of these chapters
are located in Missouri.
Electric cooperatives have been a part
of Honor Flight since its start in 2005.
Missouri's electric cooperatives have
sponsored veterans on the trip. Many
veterans learned of the program through
stories in Rural Missouri over the years.
Co-op employees also have served as
Honor Flight guardians. One of these
volunteers, Central Electric Power Cooperative engineer Jeremy Tappel, volunteered after listening to a radio telethon
that raised money for Central Missouri
Honor Flight. In December he will take One of my favorite memories is firing up the Harley and joining Dad in showing respect
part in his ninth trip, along with his wife, for the veterans taking part in the Honor Flight.

Jones is the executive vice president
and CEO of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives.


A life-changing experience
by Makenna Baker |


icture this: 48 empowered teenagers meeting with some of the nation's most prominent people, all in Washington, D.C. I was
one of those teenagers. My life changed this
past summer in a way that I can never describe. All
I know is that I now see the world from a different
viewpoint: one that is full of optimism, pride and
hope for the future of our country.
In November 2018, I entered an essay competition for United Electric Cooperative. The winner of
the competition would receive an all-expense-paid
trip to Washington, D.C. After a few short weeks,
I received a letter stating my essay was chosen for
the interview portion of the competition. After an
interview full of fun and laughs, it was announced
that I was the winner from my electric cooperative
and would be going to D.C. in the coming summer.
A week before I was headed to the big city, I
received an email stating there was an opportunity
to become the Missouri Youth Leadership representative. This meant Missouri's Electric Cooperatives
would choose one student to represent the state.
After drafting a short summary about myself, I created a video talking about my activities, accomplishments and just showing off my goofy personality.

When I officially arrived in the big city, I felt so students all became my best friends. I have never
out of place. Coming from the small town of Savan- met other teenagers that are able to think on such
nah, Missouri, I was in awe of such big buildings a complex level while bringing new insights for the
future. From this, I learned an important lesson.
and high traffic.
Even more than that, the history behind every In order to be outstanding in life, you must stand
museum and artifact was truly inspiring. What outside of the rest. There is no possible way you can
fit in with the rest of society to strive to
really amazed me was getting to walk
become great.
the halls of the White House. Knowing
I would like to thank United Electhat our founding fathers were once
tric for choosing me to attend Youth
in those same rooms was a feeling of
Tour, as well as Missouri's Electric
American pride I'll never forget.
Cooperatives for choosing me to be
Later during the trip, they chose the
the Missouri YLC representative. You
Missouri YLC. Insanely enough, they
all are truly such generous people and
announced I was the winner. I could
have completely changed my life. Also,
not believe it. There are pictures and
a shoutout to Youth Tour coordinator
videos of me going on stage and saying
Chris Massman and United Electric's
a few words to get the crowd excited,
Pat and Pam Walters for being such
but I do not remember it.
kindhearted people. Of course, I want
All I can picture was looking out
to thank my parents for always believinto the crowd and thinking, "How can
Makenna Baker
ing in me, and my sister, who despite
this possibly be?"
giving me a hard time, always pushes
By becoming the Missouri YLC, I got
to go back to D.C. three weeks later. Everything I me to be great. As for everyone else involved in this
thought I knew about life at this point was about amazing program, you will forever hold a special
to completely change. The minute I stepped off the place in my heart. Thank you.
plane I was welcomed with open arms from comBaker is a senior at Savannah High School.
plete strangers. Over the course of four days, these


Rural Missouri - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2019

Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 8
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 9
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 10
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Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover4