Georgia-Pacific Brunswick Cellulose presented a check to the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight Monday. Pictured are, from left, Woody Woodside, president of the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, David Martinez, general manager of the Brunswick Cellulose plant, Chandra Kendall, trip coordinator for the flight, Karen Mumford, fundraising chair of the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight, Duane Harris, chair of the honor flight campaign, and Valerie Hepburn, executive director of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation.

The gnats were out in full force, but not even the biting pests could dampen the spirits of the individuals gathered Monday morning at the Georgia-Pacific Cellulose plant in Brunswick.

Supporters from the plant have played an active role in the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight fundraising campaign and reinforced their enthusiasm by presenting a $6,000 check to help more veterans travel to the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

“Georgia Pacific Brunswick Cellulose is a top-notch employer and an outstanding corporate citizen in Coastal Georgia,” said Valerie Hepburn, executive director of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation, a nonprofit organization which is a key supporter of the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight campaign. “We are humbled and grateful for their leadership as one of Coastal Georgia Honor Flight’s premier supporters.”

It was announced last month that the Honor Flight had booked 37 veterans from World War II and the Korean War on the flight, which will head to the nation’s capital in May. The one-day journey will allow the veterans see the National World War II Memorial. Because of the growing support for the program, organizers have been able to reach their fundraising goal, which was $65,000. Funds raised will be used to accommodate the dozens of veterans and a team of medical staff for the May 2 trip.

Donating the funds to help the journey become a reality is just one small token of gratitude he can offer to these former soldiers, said David Martinez, general manger for Brunswick Cellulose.

“At Georgia-Pacific, we believe that we have to earn the right every day to operate in the communities we call home,” Martinez said. “We do this by helping create long-term value with our operations that benefits our community, our employees, our customers and our company. We are especially appreciative of the many current and retired Georgia-Pacific employees who served our country through military service. We are proud to call Brunswick and Coastal Georgia home and honored to be able to help show gratitude and give thanks to our veterans as we join others in our community to send them to Washington to be honored.”

Thanks to donations such as the one from Georgia-Pacific, the honor flight has gone from a dream, into a reality, with all needed funds raised. But, Hepburn said, help is nonetheless needed. Volunteers are needed on the ground to help with the many events linked to the flight. A heroes breakfast, community dinner and, of course, the actual day of the flight all require volunteer hands on deck.

Hepburn said the community can take an active role by coming together to send off and greet the heroes at the Brunswick airport on May 2, make banners and signs to recognize their war efforts, help with event essentials such as set-up and serving, as well as help with transportation needs.

For more information on how to support the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight campaign or for volunteer opportunities, visit coastalgeorgiahonorflight.org.

Reporter Anna Hall writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at ahall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.