Topic: Military-Focused Initiatives
Three "Honor Flight" trips sponsored by WDAY-AM and WDAY-TV in Fargo, N.D., allowed 587 local World War II veterans to see the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., more than 60 years after their service. The program began in 2007 as a community-wide effort to make sure World War II veterans from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota had the opportunity to visit the memorial free of charge. The stations’ efforts included a radio day blitz at a local shopping mall, a telethon, a fundraiser featuring nationally known soap opera and television stars, and more than 1,300 public service announcements. All of the hard work resulted in donations of $475,000 over seven months, which allowed WDAY to become the first media organization to take its own Honor Flight and the first to charter 747s to take veterans to the memorial. Nearly 10,000 hours of staff time went into making the Honor Flights a reality. Gov. John Hoeven met the veterans and wished them well on board the plane at each flight. While in flight, the stations interviewed the veterans for later broadcasts, and at the memorial, the stations conducted a three-hour live broadcast. Just in case anyone missed a broadcast, WDAY linked to the Honor Day Flight Web site throughout the year. "I have to say that we are still in awe of everything we experienced," said Beth Bouley, who accompanied her father on one of the three Honor Flights. "My father was incredibly moved by the beauty of the memorial and the opportunity to finally see it. Thank you, WDAY." WDAY was a National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Award Finalist in 2008.
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