PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Metamora sixth grader is on a mission to raise $10,000 for Greater Peoria Honor Flight by eighth grade.
Honor Flights are the trip of a lifetime for local veterans, spent remembering and reflecting on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is a day that is a special part of their chapter in life, for some of them it’s the last page,” said Phyllis Piraino, who is one of the founders and vice president of Greater Peoria Honor Flight.
It’s a cause close to Metamora 11-year-old Jay Murphy’s heart. He started raising money for the organization back in first grade.
“It feels great knowing that someone will get to remember that they did something good for this country,” said Murphy.
Through Greater Peoria Honor Flight, local veterans get the opportunity to visit memorials in Washington D.C. It’s all at no cost to veterans.
“I think he just realizes how special of a cause this is for so many people,” said Jay’s mom, Jenny Murphy.
Murphy is now in sixth grade and carrying on his fundraising tradition.
“The first year it just felt really good and I decided I wanted to do it again, next year it felt even better so I did it again,” said Murphy.
So far, he’s raised $7,500, all towards a hefty goal.
“I need to get $1,250 every year for the next two years to get to my goal of $10,000 by the time I graduate grade school,” said Murphy.
A number that once seemed impossible, is now possible.
“It just seemed like just a big number in his head I think and when we broke it down, that came to 20 veterans,” said Jenny Murphy.
Piraino says honor flights are expensive and donations are needed to fund the trips.
“Every flight we take costs about $80,000 and so we take about 75 veterans,” said Piraino.
And Jay’s mom says her son is learning life experiences through his fundraising.
“He’s getting to see just how the actions of one person no matter how small can just kind of have that ripple effect and spread to so many people and kind of something small can become something big,” said Jenny Murphy.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, honor flight trips aren’t happening. Piraino says fundraising is still important to they’ll be able to make take trips in the future.
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