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LUHS community gathers to honor local veterans, raises $15,000 for Never Forget Honor Flight

Lakeland Union High School bustled with more than its typical crowd of students this Veterans Day.

In a packed cafeteria, high school students sat side by side with veterans for a breakfast and special ceremony honoring their service.

Nearly every student at the school has a relative who has served in the military.

That could be why so many were willing to raise money to send local veterans on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight, a trip to Washington D.C. to see the memorials honoring them.

The school raised about $15,000 for that purpose over the course of the pandemic, more money than any other school in northeastern Wisconsin.

That means a lot to area veterans like Gerald Brillhart, who spent four years in the U.S. Navy.

Now he’s preparing to make the trip to the country’s capital.

“I’m 80 years old,” he said. “I thought I was never going to make that.”

The Never Forgotten Honor Flight has sent more than 3,500 veterans from north-central Wisconsin to Washington D.C. since 2009.

It’s such a popular experience that the waitlist for the program is two years long.

It costs about $500 to send a veteran on a flight to D.C. But many veterans say the experience is priceless.

“If you’ve seen a couple people die,” Brillhart said, “it’s quite an honor.”

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