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Giving a day for America's 'Greatest Generation'

by Barb Boose No Comments

Drs. Jim Lovell, Mark Randleman and Rick Glenn in Washington, D.C.

DMU alums volunteer with Honor Flight

Taking care of 350 veterans in their 80s and 90s on a marathon trip to Washington, D.C., on a 90-degree day might intimidate even a seasoned physician. But for DMU alumni Mark Randleman and Rick Glenn, it was the honor of a lifetime.

Randleman, D.O.’78, and Glenn, D.O.’92, were two of three physicians who accompanied 350 World War II veterans on a round-trip Aug. 11 “Honor Flight” from Des Moines to Washington. Conceived by an Ohio physician assistant and launched in 2005, Honor Flights transport WWII veterans from across the country, at no cost to them, to view the WWII Memorial and other sites in the nation’s capital.

“This is America’s greatest generation. To give one day to these individuals who gave us a life of freedom was truly an honor for me,” says Glenn, a hospitalist at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa.

Randleman, a physician in emergency medicine at Iowa Lutheran Hospital and Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, learned about Honor Flight while visiting Washington, D.C. An organizer invited him on the trip; he then asked Glenn and Des Moines cardiologist Jim Lovell, D.O., to join the trip.

Grocery store chain Hy-Vee contributed $250,000 to fund the trip, which started with a predawn send-off at the Des Moines International Airport, a tour of several Washington memorials and a wee-hours return.

“What the veterans lack in physical endurance, they made up for it in spirit,” says Randleman, himself an Army veteran. “While standing in long lines at security, they’d say, ‘It’s just like being in the Army.’”

Glenn and Randleman, whose late fathers both served during WWII, enjoyed the veterans’ camaraderie and engaged conversations. When the talkative group observed the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, however, all fell into reverent silence.

“It’s such a solemn and respectful ceremony, so deep in military tradition, they were transfixed,” Glenn notes. “It was like they were young soldiers again. They were in that moment.”

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