Navy Vietnam Veteran David Bartlett, 77, served from October 1965 until December 1969. Diagnosed with terminal lung disease, Bartlett reached out to the Dream Foundation with a dream to join the Kansas Honor Flight, a journey of honor and remembrance for Veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C.
“It’s an honor. I’m excited to see the Vietnam War memorial.”
Bartlett needed help with financing the trip for his guardian and friend Michael Suarez, also a Vietnam Veteran. The Dream Foundation helps make applicants’ dreams come true.
“It’s an honor, and I’m very excited to see the Vietnam War memorial and take Mike with me,” Bartlett said.
A special Dream delivery was presented by fellow Vietnam Veteran Gene Saxton from Robert J. Dole VA in Wichita, Kansas, and by the local Kindred Hospice.
Fifth District VFW Commander and chairman of the Hutchinson Kansas Honor Flight John Hooker met with Juarez and Bartlett to share the flight details and congratulate them on the opportunity.
They began their journey on May 8.
Visited numerous Veteran memorials
Bartlett and Suarez visited Ft. McHenry, the U.S. Navy Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial during their dream trip.
Photographer Val Proudkii captured images of the friends while they visited each memorial and helped Suarez push Bartlett’s wheelchair to the various sites.
Three days later, the pair safely returned to Wichita where they were welcomed home by friends and family.
“He enjoyed every bit of it,” says Judy, Bartlett’s wife. “Everyone thought David and Michael were celebrities with the photographer. When they returned, we all took pictures together after their ceremony. David says the trip was well worth the experience.”