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UPDATE: A ticket for Roger Van Loan has been paid for by a single donor. After the story aired on KSN, viewers sent a wave of donations.
PRIOR STORY BELOW
WICHITA, Kansas – A Vietnam veteran in failing health is racing against the clock to raise enough money to go on a Kansas Honor Flight next week, hoping to see the Vietnam War Memorial.
“It brings back a lot of memories, some are hard,” said Roger Van Loan.
Van Loan is scheduled to take an Honor Flight on September 4. He was moved to the front of the line ahead of WWII and Korean War veterans because of his health after Van Loan suffered six strokes and a heart attack.
While his flight is free, Roger needs to bring along his wife and that will cost $700.
“You can’t even imagine what it would mean to me,” said Roger’s wife Linda.
The American Legion is trying to raise money for Linda’s flight because if she can’t go, Roger can’t either.
The family is struggling financially to come up with the money for her ticket. Over the last couple of months, Roger has had to bury both his son and his mother-in-law. The unexpected expenses drained the savings they set aside for the flight.
“It’s been a rough few months for us,” lamented Linda.
For years Roger didn’t want to see The Wall. While he’s a proud veteran, he knows the memorial will bring a rush of difficult memories and emotions. But without much time left, he feels he has to go.
“It was more than I wanted to face,” said Roger. “I hope, I can face it now. I’m going to try.”
The American Legion Post #4 is fronting the effort to pay for the extra ticket. Donations can be mailed to American Legion Post #4, c/o Herb Duncan, 816 N. Water Street, Wichita, KS 67203
The cost of the ticket was paid for by one donor, but there’s been many people contacting KSN and the American Legion to donate money.