Jefferson Awards: Our Veterans’ Voice

Jefferson Awards: Our Veterans’ Voice

Army Formation Marching

The last eight years are full of memories for Bob Morrison and his wife, Norma. In 2008, Bob brought “Honor Flight” to the Quad Cities so that, in turn, we could bring our World War II Veterans to the monument built just for them in Washington, D.C.

“It’s very special,” said Bob. “It really is and I appreciate it. There’s just something about it. It has a good connection. It’s a good feeling.”

Since the first flight in November 2008, there have been hundreds of veterans who’ve signed up, packed the airport in the early hours of the morning, and taken the day-long trip.

“They call it the ‘trip of a lifetime’ and I couldn’t understand that,” said Norma. “Bob would come home and say – all these guys are saying this was the best day of their life and I was like – really? That was hard for me to comprehend, but over the years I was able to see it really was.”

A lot of “Honor Flights” across the country have fizzled, but the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities keeps going and growing. The program now includes Korean War and Vietnam War Era Veterans. Last summer, the first flightless Honor Flight took place as veterans took a bus to monuments around the Quad Cities Area.

“Veterans are worth everything,” said Bob on the day of the first flightless Honor Flight. “They’ve earned it. We need to support them.”

Today, the tables are turning a little bit as more and more people support Bob after he recently found out some bad news.

“On November 5th, we received the diagnosis that Bob has Frontal Temporal Degeneration,” explained Norma. “Some people consider it a form of Dementia. Some do not. It’s more like a brain injury, so it doesn’t necessary affect his memory, but it affects his ability to plan and follow through.”

Bob is taking a step back as Honor Flight Director, but still remains on the Honor Flight Board with Emeritus Status.

“His big thing is he wants to help people, so we kind of had to refocus and life is different now,” said Norma.

It may be different now, but Bob’s accomplishments are still the same. He has received several awards, including the Modern Woodmen of America’s Hometown Hero Award twice. Now, he can add another to this list – a nomination for the Jefferson Award, on behalf of WQAD and Genesis Health System.

“I do appreciate it,” said Bob. “I think it’s really cool and it’s really nice of you guys to do that kind of thing.”

“It’s nice to know he can still be honored even though he’s not in the forefront,” added Norma.

The Quad Cities has hosted 36 Honor Flights so far. The next ones are scheduled for April and May 2016. For more information on the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, click here.

WQAD, News 8 has introduced you to a new Jefferson Award Nominee every month. At the end of March 2016, we will announce who is going to represent our area at the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Jefferson Awards are the country’s longest standing and most prestigious celebration of public service. Past winners include Chad Pregracke, Walter Cronkite, Steve Jobs, Paul Newman, and Michael Bloomberg.

To nominate an “unsung hero” for the next round of Jefferson Award Nominees, click here.

 

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