Daughter suprises Vietnam Vet Dad with a flight

Crystal Wilson works tirelessly to help those people who have given so much in service of their country. The Galesburg-based woman has personally helped to send more than 25 veterans to the Honor Flight of the Quad cities alone. But it’s her most recent, entirely selfless act, that’s raising eyebrows amongst her fellow philanthropists. When the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities wanted to honor Crystal herself, she decided there were people more deserving than her, so she donated her own honor to a very special man. Her father.

According to this story on WQAD.com, Crystal Wilson was to be recognized for her hard work and dedication to the veterans involved with Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. While she was touched by the thought of being honored, she decided that she knew someone who would get even more out of the offer: A Vietnam Veteran named Rodney Wilson, who just so happens to be Crystal’s father.

When asked by WQAD why she’s done so much for Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, she responded “I think that they give up a lot; they give up their lives, they put their lives on hold, their family members are put on hold in order to serve and protect our country.” So Wilson and a friend started a fundraising drive which they called “Shave for the Brave” back in March to help raise some money for veterans.

Crystal set her goal modestly at $1,000, and was to task men to shave their beards and donate the proceeds to the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. Crystal and the Shave for the Brave drive raised over $13,000, enough to send 26 veterans to Washington D.C.

In return for her hard work, Honor Flight offered Crystal a ride in one of their Boeing Stearman planes. Crystal knew that this plane happened to be a U.S. Navy plane, and she knew someone who would be even more thrilled than herself to take a ride in that plane. Rodney Wilson, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam.

“I’d actually like to give this flight to my father, who is a Vietnam vet. He’s done three tours in the Navy, so it’s kind of nice that he can go up in the Navy airplane,” she told reporters. Her father was more than a little surprised when Crystal sprang this gift on her.

“I figured she was up to something, she’s always up to something,” Mr. Wilson told reporters before taking off in his first Navy plane since 1968.

By Brett Gillin



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