There is a new leadership team at Patriot Flight, an all-volunteer community group that gives World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans a free day-trip to visit their memorials and other historic sites in Washington, D.C.
• Bruce D. Mendini of Colonie, an Air Force veteran, is the new president. Mendini served in the Air Force on Okinawa during the Vietnam War as an electronics technician. Afterward, he went to work for Univac as a computer engineer in Chicago using his military training. After less than a year in Chicago he was transferred to Albany to work and supervise computer maintenance operations at the UAlbany, the State Police and the state Division of Taxation and Finance. He also designed and supervised the installation of the state Department of Social Services.
After a 2017 flight with Patriot Flight Washington D.C. memorials, Mendini said he was so impressed with the work done by the volunteers on his trip, he felt the need to offer his services to them. As time went on he took on more of the operational responsibilities and gained the trust of the volunteer group. He often served as a bus captain and performed administrative and logistical tasks. After the retirement of the former president of Patriot Flight, Frank DeSorbo of Delmar, he was instrumental in the reorganization process.
• Edward O. Johnson Sr. of Colonie, an Air Force veteran, is the new vice president. While in the Air Force Johnson was a radio interceptor-operator. The 1962 graduate of Colonie Central High School, enlisted in 1963. He attended Hudson Valley Community College and took advantage of the G.I. Bill to complete funeral director training at a New York City institute. He worked for New York Telephone Co. for a time before working at Colonie Emergency Communications for 10 years. He later worked as a fire inspector for the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control for 26 years before retirement. He has served as a Colonie Village Fire Company volunteer for 56 years. He has been president of the Thunder Road Seniors for nine years.
• Jennifer Lyons of Berne, a payroll and benefits manager at Latham Pool Products, is the new treasurer.
• Christine Thorton of Loudonville, a retired licensed practical nurse, is secretary and Jackie Mendini, of Colonie, is assistant secretary.
• Robert Smith of Rotterdam, a Navy veteran, is head of donor relations. Smith is a 1965 graduate of Lansingburgh High School. He served in the Navy aboard the USS Ingersoll and the USS HOEL, and in Vietnam 1967-68 a time that included the Tet Offensive. He owned and operated the Richard Insurance Agency for 44 years before retirement.
• Allan Atwell of Clifton Park, an Army veteran of World War II and a Battle of Bulge survivor, and New York Army National Guard Col. Richard Goldenberg, remain on the Board of Directors.
• Bruce Mendini, Johnson Sr., Lyons and Smith are new to the Board of Directors.
Since Patriot Flight, a hub of National Honor Flight, was founded by William Peak, of Brunswick, a World War II veteran, in 2007 the local group has flown more than 1,000 veterans to Washington, D.C.
Patriot Flight, which serves a seven-county area including the Capital Region, has a new mail address: Patriot Flight, Inc. at P.O. Box 13776, Albany, NY 12212-3776. Veterans and guardians can download applications and find information at: Patriotflight.org or contact call Bruce Mendini at 518-795-0665. Donations payable to Patriot Flight Inc. can be sent to its address. The next Patriot Flight will be Oct. 5.