On Friday, Honor Flight will depart Austin with a plane full of World War II veterans headed to the National Memorial in D.C.
It was a first for the organization to bring D.C. to a veteran.
Richard Gillson could not have been more deserving of such a heartfelt thank you.
This handsome sailor served our country during world war two and almost lost his life in the process.
"Somehow they hit a mine and it blew the back off the ship," longtime friend of the veteran, Mike Click said.
Click now tells Richard Gillson's stories for him. The 87-year-old was riding his motorcycle up until last may when he was struck by a car. He was often confused for a 60-year-old Click says and now he's in a care facility. His days are numbered.
"Lost a leg. Essentially his arm," Click said.
His ability to travel onboard Honor Flight with other World War II vets to Washington D.C. this Friday was also lost.
"He was all excited about it. A week ago they called and said he was nominated to go. I said he can't he's been in an accident. So they said welp, let us think about it. We may come to him," Click said.
On Monday, they did. Each Honor Flight volunteer shook a tearful Gillson's hand, thanked him and gave him a promise that his service would never be forgotten. They brought him a photo book of the World War II Memorial and medals. An air force veteran then sang the national anthem.
There was not a dry eye in the room, especially from Click. The friend who helped make this happen.
"Thank you. That was above and beyond the call," Click said.
Gillson, moved by Honor Flight's kindness said a few words as he choked back tears.
"I want to thank you all for coming out," Gillson said.
"I wish we could take him and if things get better we will," Allen Bergeron of Honor Flight said. "We're gonna have him in our thoughts and prayers and hopefully he pulls through and we'll get him to see his memorial that he's waited 65 years to see."
Mr. Gillson has two children. He calls Georgetown home. He's done some remarkable things in his life, including inventing a pencil sharpener. We thank him for all he has done and wish him a speedy recovery.
Each honor flight costs about $40,000 and about 600 World War II veterans die each day. To learn more about Honor Flight click here.