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A sentimental journey

Family Players of Northeastern New York will perform a USO tribute show to benefit Honor Flight on Feb. 18 at the American Legion Zaloga Post. Back Row: Dan Galliher, John Scaringe, Chris Kowalski, Jeff Hocking, Rachel Walker, Casey Kalica, Jessica Crisci, Deanna Stickles-Bach. Front Row: Kelly Williams, Christina Benardo, Andrew Dongelewic, David Herrington, Allie Dongelewic.

Family Players of Northeastern New York will perform a USO tribute show to benefit Honor Flight on Feb. 18 at the American Legion Zaloga Post. Back Row: Dan Galliher, John Scaringe, Chris Kowalski, Jeff Hocking, Rachel Walker, Casey Kalica, Jessica Crisci, Deanna Stickles-Bach. Front Row: Kelly Williams, Christina Benardo, Andrew Dongelewic, David Herrington, Allie Dongelewic. Submitted Photo

— Family Players of Northeastern New York is known for its big summer musical each year, but this time, it could be the USO tribute show, “A Sentimental Journey,” on Feb. 18 that everyone’s talking about.

“It’s all World War II-era music and dancing and comedy, so it’s going to have everything from Abbot and Costello and some music from the Andrews Sisters and Lena Horne and Glen Miller,” said Julie Phillips, producer and Family Players board member.

The show is a benefit and will raise money for Honor Flight, a national organization with regional groups that flies WWII veterans to visit the WWII Monument in Washington, D.C.

Rick Connor, fundraising chairman for Honor Flight in the Leatherstocking region, said to truly understand the experience you must see it for yourself.

“It’s very emotional for them and us. There’s a lot of tears shed and a lot of repressed memories,” said Connor.

Connor first went on an Honor Flight as a guardian, or a volunteer who accompanies the elderly travelers to help with the trip. Afterward, he wanted to keep helping.

“It was a very emotional day and I just got involved,” said Connor. “My wife has been a guardian and she got involved. It’s a wonderful day.”

Trips cost Honor Flight about $350 per veteran, who travel free, and the flights are packed to the brim. The Leatherstocking Honor Flight based near Cobleskill drives veterans to Albany International Airport with a motorcycle and State Police escort, then sends them on a nonstop flight to Baltimore, to a bus to the WWII memorial and sometimes the Korean Memorial, to Arlington Cemetery for a changing of the guard ceremony. The trip finishes with a visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial. In between stops there’s lunch and dinner, and each veteran gets a T-shirt and disposal camera to document the day.

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