Yooper Surprise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of young United States Air Force personnel stood at the gate in Reagan National Airport, waiting for the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight veterans to arrive.

One of these members of the 89th Airlift Wing of the Presidential Logistics Squadron, based at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, had a special interest in welcoming this group of Yoopers, because he is one himself.

Master Sgt. Richard Kelley has been in the USAF for 21 years and is a native of Republic in western Marquette County.

“There’s a listing for coming to greet Honor Flights and when I saw the U.P. group on the schedule, I wanted to come for it,” Kelley said. “I am glad it worked out. I wanted to represent for the U.P.”

Kelley and the other volunteers from the squadron not only applauded and shook the hands of every veteran who walked off the plane, they helped haul wheelchairs and other equipment to the buses that would take the veterans around Washington, D.C., for a whirlwind tour of monuments in their honor.

“Just glad we could help,” Kelley said with a smile.