WASHINGTON, D.C. - Iron Mountain resident Dustin Dixon was particpating in Upper Peninsula Honor Flight Mission V Wednesday as the guardian for his grandfather, Daniel Dixon of Felch, a World War II Army veteran.
The younger Dixon told flight organizer Barb Van Rooy that he had collected some money for the program and brought it to her during the welcoming reception Tuesday night in Escanaba.
"I was shocked," Van Rooy said. "I was expecting a couple hundred dollars, maybe."
Instead, Dustin Dixon handed the Honor Flight about $7,700.
"Unbelievable," Van Rooy said. "We're so grateful."
Asked Wednesday about the surprise he delivered, Dustin smiled.
"Really, it was word of mouth," he said as he and his grandfather visited Arlington National Cemetery with the Honor Flight contingent.
"Lots of local businesses in the Dickinson County area put the word out and we got lots of good support. But I think it's the tip of the iceberg and there's a lot more that can be done."
Daniel Dixon said the flight was a wonderful experience.
"I am glad I came," he said. "I kept putting it off, but this is wonderful."
The Honor Flight's goal is to bring every World War II veteran from the Upper Peninsula to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorial in their honor along with other national landmarks.
Through donations and fundraisers, the Honor Flight does not charge the WWII veterans a cent for the trip.
The next trip will be in the spring of 2014. For more information, contact Van Rooy at 906-280-1471.
Donations for the flight are also needed. Anyone wishing to make a donation may send it to: Upper Peninsula Honor Flight, c/o Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula, 2420 1st Avenue, South, Suite 101, Escanaba, MI 49829.