FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Scott and Linda Phillips have served the United States and its people for decades.

“I was in the Air Force for 30 years,” explains Scott Phillips. “My primary mission through my years was a KC-135 pilot.” Linda Phillips spent her 20 years in the service as a KC-135 pilot as well. Now Scott and Linda have a different mission.

“This will be our 21st flight,” explains Linda. She’s talking about Central Valley Honor Flight, an effort to ensure veterans of World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are able to visit the memorials and monuments erected to honor them and their fellow soldiers. So far, 1,333 veterans have taken the journey.

“It’s truly a trip of healing for a lot of people, it’s a trip of celebration for a lot of people,” Scott says. “How it affects people really what makes us proud of what we do.”

2022’s Honor Flight will be the first in more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In those years, 25 veterans originally scheduled to take the trip have passed away. Even though they may not be with us anymore, they haven’t been forgotten.

Specially folded flags from junior ROTC cadets at Duncan Polytechnical School will be making the flight, one for each veteran who has passed. The flags will visit the monuments and memorials to remind this generation of heroes and their loved ones that their legacy lives on.

“They all feel that America appreciates them when they see all the accolades,” Scott says. “When we arrive you’ll have travelers that will stop and clap as these veterans walk through the airport.”

Linda and Scott don’t receive payment for this effort. They raise over $150,000 every year from their home office. Instead, they’re paid in moments. Moments where people from the Central Valley to the nation’s capital get to say thank you.

“Just watching what it does to, not just the veteran, but to the veteran’s family,” Linda explains. “It’s that healing process, it’s that thank you we get every day.”