WHAT: The City Of Austin, and both American and Southwest Airlines are committed to getting Austin area WW II veterans to our nation’s capitol so they can experience the National World War II Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. But the clock is ticking, funding is short, and more than 1,000 greatest-generation heroes die each day across the U.S.

WHEN: Tuesday – May 1, 2012 – 1pm to 2pm – Q&A and 1:1 interviews follow statements

WHERE: Austin City Hall – Atrium – 301 West 2nd Street – Austin, TX 78701

WHY: At this press conference Honor Flight Austin will announce a new program as part of its urgent statewide outreach and funding initiative (in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties) to identify, qualify, and transport as many eligible Central Texas World War II veterans as possible to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial completed in 2006. With more than 1,000 veterans dying each day across the U.S. (nearly four times greater than died each day during WWII), and the whereabouts of many Texas vets still uncertain, Honor Flight Austin feels it imperative that businesses and the general public help these quiet heroes, now.

WHO: The following individuals are scheduled to appear at this press conference. We ask that the media remain flexible, especially regarding the availability of the Texas World War II veterans (who are in their 80s) and that if possible you schedule your interviews with them in advance:

  • Honorable Lee Leffingwell – Mayor, City Of Austin OR Mike Martinez – Austin City Council
  • State Representative Jason Isaac – Texas House District 45 (Blanco, Caldwell & Hays Counties)
  • Jesse Farmer – Austin, TX (Age 86) – World War II Veteran and Survivor, Battle of Iwo Jima
  • Richard Wilson – San Saba, TX (Age 85) – 2011 West Texas Honor Flight/World War II Veteran
  • Leo Lacey – Goldthwaite, TX (Age 85) – 2011 West Texas Honor Flight/World War II Veteran
  • Allen Bergeron – Chairman, Honor Flight Austin and City of Austin – Veterans Consultant
  • Jeff Ballenger – Co-Chair, West Texas Honor Flight and Chairman, Central Iowa Honor Flight

NOTE: 1) Southwest Airlines has donated seats for 25 veterans, and will have a representative present at this press conference. Honor Flight Austin will raise money to provide companion and medical support, and lodging for the Texas veterans making this historic journey to Washington, D.C.
2) American Airlines is also providing travel arrangements for Honor Flight Austin’s veterans.

CONTACT: Before The Press Conference: Contact John Katsantonis*jpkattt@att.net or 847-526-3622
At The Press Conference: Please phone Allen Bergeron at 512-512-809-7865
Or Jeff Ballenger at 402-306-1139

VISUALS: *For B-Roll And Photos, Or Schedule Interviews, Please Contact John Katsantonis.