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"The room was electric with emotions." Tehachapi donates funds to send five local veterans on Honor Flights

The City Council approved a $13,500 donation to Honor Flight Kern County--enough to fly five local veterans and their guardians to the nation's capital
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 24, 2024
  • Video shows the Tehachapi City Manager, Mayor and City Council presenting local representatives from Honor Flight Kern County with a check for $13,500.
  • During the Feb. 20 City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved a donation to send five local veterans and five guardians on Honor Flights to Washington D.C.


Veterans who have gone on Honor Flights say it was a life-changing and emotional experience. And now, thanks to a donation, five Tehachapi veterans will be able to have that experience.

“I’ve personally been there many, many times, and it’s an experience you never forget,” said City Councilor Phil Smith.

Councilor Smith was one of the councilors who, at the February 20 meeting, approved a donation to send local veterans on Honor Flights.

The original proposal was to sponsor sending one local veteran on the flight to Washington D.C., but, after hearing testimonials from local Honor Flight representatives, the City Manager Greg Garrett was moved.

“It was so heartfelt the room was electric with emotions, raw emotions. And I spoke up and said why don’t we send five veterans and five guardians for $13,500," Garrett said. "And the City Council immediately unanimously voted in favor of that.” 

The donation for $13,500 was presented to local representatives of Honor Flight Kern County during the monthly veteran's breakfast in town.

In addition to being a member of the City Council, Phil Smith is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He said he’s been fortunate to travel to the nation’s capital.

Experiencing the memorials, specifically the Vietnam War memorial, he said, was very impactful.

“Everybody’s at the wall with a piece of paper and pencil to get their name off the wall," said Smith. "So, I got two of my friends that were an active duty who didn’t come home from Vietnam. We’re all brothers, and brothers and sisters, but we’re also families in arms."

I asked Phil, "Having five Tehachapi veterans, with the ability to go and visit and to see that–what will that mean for them?”

"That’s gonna be something. Not everyone has that opportunity," Smith said. "It's far from here, so to have the opportunity for veterans to be able to go and see that–it’s a life event, I believe.” 

Representatives from Honor Flight Kern County tell me they will use this donation to prioritize sending Tehachapi veterans on Honor Flights.

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