DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) - It is one of the most memorable and powerful moments that a person can witness.
As war veterans are cheered as they board a special flight from DFW Airport, there is a group of volunteers working behind the scenes to make it all happen.
One person's effort speaks volumes.
"Actually, it's not a job. It's a mission," explains Melaine Giordano. She's the President of Honor Flight DFW.
"Tudy," as her friends call her, has volunteered for 38 of the 41 flights out of DFW to take war veterans to Washington, D.C.
"When we leave on these flights we leave as strangers and we come home as a family," says Giordano.
The veterans get the opportunity to share their war stories during the trip. They also visit the memorial established for the war they fought in.
"There's such a brotherhood. And being a civilian and getting to watch the generations is incredible," proclaimed "Tudy."
The decade of flights she has been involved with has produced a lifetime of memories.
And there was something she didn't expect. There are stacks and stacks of 'thank you' notes from veterans to the volunteers who escorted them on their flight.
"I do not think I have a sufficient eloquence in my vocabulary to truly express my eternal gratitude to you and all your guardian staff for providing me with one of my most memorable experiences of my lifetime," as Giordano read one of the notes.
That experience of a lifetime for the veterans has changed "Tudy's" life, too.
"I love watching their eyes. And I love watching their smiles. Particularly the World War II veterans. If you could take everything away but their eyes, you'd swear they were a young man again. And that's where I get my fulfillment," as Giordano reflects on the flights.
The next Honor Flight leaves from Dallas Love Field this Friday.
There will be a mix of World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Cold War veterans on what's becoming a trip of a lifetime. and "Tudy" will be right there with the veterans with a smile as big as Texas.
To learn more about Honor Flight DFW, click here.
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