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Hot Air Balloon Honor Flight Lifts Off

May 22, 2018 11:24 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It is one man's mission to serve those who serve our country. Just days before Memorial Day, he's set out on a big mission. 

Mike Lesmeister plans to spend the next five years taking veterans up in his red white and blue hot air balloon known as Liberty Bell. On Tuesday night, he started with a World War II Veteran.

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"It's kind of a small town honor flight sort of thing but in a hot air balloon," said Lesmeister. "The mission here is to honor the vets for the next few years as I start to near retirement. The point is to get these vets up and to find a vet that is still healthy enough to come up and wants to fly with us."

Lesmeister's first guests were Emilio and Inge Loiacono.

"I guess we're the first ones, They just wanted to make sure that we're not afraid of heights," said veteran Emilio. "We never thought at our age we would be doing anything like this."

"It's wonderful to know that people do care. It wasn't always that way. The war was lost here at home," said Inge.

"I wanted to make a statement and a president that freedom isn't free. We have to keep pounding that in. Memorial Day isn't just Memorial Day. I want it to go all year round. These vets have paid the price. That's my tribute to them," Lesmeister said.

And according to Emilio, "it really is an honor."

Credits

Noelle Anderson

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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