H.F.B. organizer announces May is Military Appreciation Month

Founder and organizer of the Honor Flight Breakfasts in Kern Valley Gary Zuber

Photo and story by Catherine Stachowiak

May is National Military Appreciation Month, acknowledging all branches of the US military.  

Thursday May 9, Gary Zuber, the founder of Honor Flight Breakfasts in Kern Valley and the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year explained the value of the recognition. “It’s America’s way of honoring our military branches for keeping us safe and protecting our country,” he said.

The United States Congress deemed National Military Appreciation Month as the month of May, back in 1990, for Americans to express gratitude for the past and current service to the county

“We actually honor our Veterans every month, not just in the month of May, with the (Honor Flight) Breakfasts and with Honor Flight,” he said.  “We’re going to have another flight of over 100 veterans going back to D.C.  So far we’ve flown over 2,000 veterans back to D.C. to honor them.”

Each year there are at least two Honor Flights out to Washington D.C.  The Honor Flights usually occur in fall and spring when weather is milder, and currently there is a minimum of two flights each year, according to Zuber.

In the past there used to be more flights occurring annually just because the airport used to only allow smaller groups be flown out of Bakersfield.  

“I got on board with Honor Flight in the summer of 2012. And in November was the first veterans from our area that we recruited to go, World War II, and that was over 100 veterans, at that time, that went,” Zuber said.

Plane reservations are behind the scenes details, which vary, flight to flight, Zuber explained.

Honor Flight started out as only World War II guys.  Currently it includes Vietnam veterans and more recent war veterans.

Zuber said, “Military Appreciation Month shouldn’t be just be a once a year thing, in May; it should be an every day thing for Veterans Appreciation.”