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Honor Flight Band Has Strong Iowa Central Ties

    Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office

Each time a Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight touches down at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport, a group of area musicians, many with Iowa Central ties, can be found providing a musical background as the crowd gathers to welcome the veterans home from their day in Washington, D.C.

The Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight Band, which consists of volunteer musicians ranging from beginners to instrumentalists with more than 50 years of experience, dates back to the very first honor flight in 2010. Longtime Iowa Central Trustee, the late Garland Hanson, was a veteran on that flight, and Jim Kersten, vice president of external affairs and government relations at Iowa Central asked the Iowa Central Band to provide music for the evening homecoming celebration.

“The roots of the band go back to the very first flight,” said Paul Bloomquist, director of instrumental music at Iowa Central. “Jim asked me if we could have a band for the landing and there has been a band or music group at each flight since.”

The performances rotated between Iowa Central, area community and high school bands and small ensembles in the years that followed. In 2016, Bloomquist organized the first Brushy Creek Honor Flight Band, which was inspired by the music department’s Spring Showcase theme “Coming Home.”

“At that concert we observed the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II,” said Bloomquist. “We collected monetary donations for the honor flight during the concert. We invited the community to join us in the band that May, and this entity, the Brushy Creek Honor Flight Band, has been a part of it ever since.”

Around a dozen current Iowa Central students and alumni performed with the band for the most recent flight on Wednesday May 22.

“It is an honor to get to play for the veterans,” said Camden Karageorge, who recently completed his freshman year at Iowa Central. “It is always a great opportunity to get out into the community and perform, but it is very impactful to experience this and play for people who served their country.”

“I like respecting the sacrifice these people made,” said Rebecca Rainwater, a 2024 Iowa Central graduate. “Whether they were drafted or joined it is still important to recognize that they were the ones on the frontlines.”

While Wednesday evening provided nearly perfect conditions for the homecoming there have been years where the band has endured inclement weather.

“We’ve been here through everything; cold, wind, torrential rain,” said Bloomquist. “As long as there is a flight there will be a band, this group shows up. It is fun, but also an honor to play for the veterans and their families.”


Honor Flight Band Has Strong Iowa Central Ties

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