EAST GREENWICH — One day while reading the paper, Tom Boyle, a former veteran of the United States Navy who was stationed in Algeria during World War II, saw an article about an ‘Honor Flight,’ a program that offers veterans the opportunity to be taken on a trip to Washington, D.C.
Curious and intrigued, Boyle filled out the application and mailed it in to the Rhode Island Fire Chief’s Association, taking a proverbial shot in the dark in the hopes of visiting the Nation’s Capital for the very first time.
Then, Boyle received a phone call that made him just as proud as he was in wearing a T-shirt with the United States flag printed across his chest.
Boyle, a native of West Warwick who currently resides at the Greenwich Bay Manor on Main Street, will be one of 40 former soldiers, airmen and sailors who will receive plane tickets and participate in the all-expenses-paid Honor Flight, which is sponsored by Ocean State Job Lot, on March 23 and visit all of the memorials and the other sights Washington, D.C. has to offer.
“I’m very thrilled,” Boyle said. “I’m that kind of guy. Anybody that does that sort of thing for me, I’m always pleased. I’ve never been to Washington, so this will be a big thing for me.”
Boyle added that he, along with the other veterans, will be assigned an aide to accompany them on the trip. Boyle’s aide will be John Pearson, an East Greenwich resident who is a retired firefighter from North Kingstown, according to the former Navy veteran.
The one-day trip will bring Boyle and the rest of the group to see the Iwo Jima memorial, the World War II memorial and the Navy memorial – the latter two Boyle is looking forward to seeing the most because he has a brick with his name on it his family ordered to be part of the Navy memorial.
Boyle said he met a gentleman at a pre-trip meeting at Johnston High School last Sunday named John Anderson, who, like Boyle, is a member of the East Greenwich Fireman’s Club and will be enjoying the camaraderie heading down to Washington this weekend free of charge.
“I don’t have to spend a nickel,” Boyle said.