Honor Flight completes Mission 22

WASHINGTON, D.C. Warwick veterans join more than 80 other servicemen from conflicts dating back to World War II for a flight to war memorials in the nation's capital.

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Retired Warwick Police Sgt. George Arnott and John Barczak, who was raised in Pine Island, both graduated from Warwick Valley High School in 1959. And both are Viet Nam era veterans.

On April 13 they joined 81 other veterans from conflicts dating back to World War II on an Honor Flight, mission 22, from Stewart International Airport to Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C.

An Honor Flight is conducted by non-profit organizations dedicated to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to see the memorials of the respective war they fought in Washington, D.C., at no cost to the veterans.

The veterans are escorted by volunteer guardians, who help them on the flight and around Washington and who pay their own airfare.

The Hudson Valley Honor Flight, based in Walden, enjoys the financial support of ShopRite, which is the main sponsor of its flights.

'World's Oldest Barber'

An interesting part of this particular flight was that one of the passengers was Anthony Mancinelli, a 108-year-old barber and World War II Veteran from New Windsor.

"I met Anthony," said Arnott, "and he didn't need a wheel chair. He walked everywhere. And I heard he missed the last Honor Flight because he was cutting hair."

Mancinelli has the title of "The World's Oldest Barber." And his son Robert, 82, was also an honoree on this flight.

Arnott's guardian, who paid $500 to attend, was Jane Hrbek a teacher from Little Ferry, New Jersey. Her father is a World War II veteran who has been on a previous Honor Flight.

"I was impressed with the program and the generosity of the platinum sponsor ShopRite and many others," said Arnott. "And I loved the passion of the people who showed up at all of our locations from the airports to the meeting areas like the little kids from the scouts and the school children brought there by parents and scout leaders.

" This act of patriotism was so heartfelt," Arnott added. "I stopped to talk to many and thanked them as well. I thought, how could you not if they would show up for this event."

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