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City park will be named for HonorAir

The small park at the southern gateway to the city will be named in honor of HonorAir, the program born in Hendersonville that has flown thousands of veterans to Washington for a day of remembering and gratitude.

The City Council voted unanimously to name the triangle-shaped parcel Honor Flight Park after a surprise presentation at a regular meeting of the City Council on Thursday night.

Jeff Miller, the Hendersonville dry cleaner and current City Council member, and retired Air Force pilot Earl Morse of Ohio joined forces in 2006 to found the effort to honor World War II veterans. Since then HonorAir has spawned a network of 140 hubs in 45 states that has flown more than a quarter million veterans to Washington.

Founding supporters of the HonorAir effort here and current members of the local hub, called Blue Ridge HonorFlight, were on hand to make the request.

"I thought it was a wonderful way we could recognize Henderson County because so many people supported it and went on flights with us and were guardians and it became a national phenomenon," Honor Flight treasurer Dave Adams told the council. "People that we fly, the veterans, really are appreciative of it."

The honor will include a historic marker in a flower bed between Third and Fourth avenues that will commemorate the program.

"Honor Flight Park is named in honor of all veterans of Western North Carolina and to recognize the founder of Blue Ridge Honor Flight, Jeff Miller, local businessman and community servant," the plaque will read. Founded with the goal of flying WWII veterans to Washington, "Blue Ridge Honor Flight continues its mission today, now also flying veteran Korean and Vietnam wars, their families and friends together with support from area Rotary clubs and many committed volunteers.

"A grateful community thanks all of its veterans and honors the work of Mr. Miller, the Blue Ridge Honor Flight organization and the national Honor Flight Network."