WICHITA, Kansas – After losing a son in the line of duty, a Wichita mother has found a way to honor his death.
She’s doing it by helping a veteran make the trip of a lifetime with the Kansas Honor Flight.
Karen Funcheon says a parent is not supposed to lose a child and the years since that day have been a struggle but now she says she has opportunity to give back in the name of her son.
April 29th is a very important day for Funcheon, it is the day her son was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, seven years ago.
“It’s always hard and it doesn’t get any easier, it’s just a pain you learn to live with,” said Funcheon.
But today she is putting that pain aside to honor her son in a unique way.
“It’s kind of bitter sweet, I’m leaving today to go help my son’s fellow soldiers to see the memorial that was made for them,” said Funcheon.
She’s preparing for the Kansas Honor Flight, heading to Kansas City to assist one of the last few World War II vets to take the trip to Washington D.C.
“I have not met him, I will soon. His name is Harold Ingles, he’s from Turon, Kansas. He’s never flown commercial,” said Funcheon.
Two new experiences, for two complete strangers.
After waiting patiently for this day, it was finally time.
Over the next three days, Funcheon will be Harold Ingles’s guide. They join 24 other vets in Washington D.C.
Ingles fought in the very end of the war and spent 18 weeks in the military. He wanted to honor other troops and will finally get his chance and Funcheon will get her chance as well by being by Ingles’s side. It will be a memory neither will ever forget.
The two will return home from their trip on Friday, where they will be greeted with a special Wichita hero’s welcome home.