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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

— Connor said the veterans have strong reactions during the trip.

“Some of these guys haven’t talked about it for many years or ever. One guy had four Purple Hearts and was very highly decorated and his family never even knew that. They’re a very humble group of individuals,” said Connor.

With the WWII generation fading fast, Connor said the vets like the chance to be together.

“They talk amongst themselves about their experiences. They have a lot of fun,” said Connor.

The veterans appreciate Honor Flight’s generosity but Connor said no matter how special the day is, it doesn’t come close to properly thanking them.

“They’ve allowed us to live in this country freely where it could have gone the other way many years ago,” said Connor. “We treat them as heroes.”

The Family Players fundraiser will be a welcome contribution to the group, which relies on donations to make the trips happen about four times a year.

“It is quite costly. … It will help,” said Connor. “The show I think is going to be great.”

About 20 performers will take the stage and with a deeper meaning attached to the show, Phillips said it’s been a powerful experience already.

“A lot of the people who were chosen for this were people who had some connection to Honor Flight, who know veterans (and) we’re proud to have veterans amongst our cast, crew and audience,” said Phillips. “I think that’s really helped form the heart and soul of this show.”

Family Players, which performs around the Capital District but is based mostly in Colonie, celebrated 25 years of community theater last year, but Phillips said this benefit show will be different.

“If you love the music and dance and comedy of that era and how it makes you feel, this will be a really entertaining show,” said Phillips.

“A Sentimental Journey” includes dinner and will be held at the American Legion Zaloga Post at 4 Everett Road Extension. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include a ziti dinner, dessert and the show. Tickets can be purchased by calling 331-4158.

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