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November 08, 2012 at 09:00 AM EST
Honor Flight DFW Soars With Help of Plano Businessman
Time Running Out to Honor Heroes of Greatest Generation

DALLAS, TX and FORT WORTH, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 11/08/12 -- Honor Flight DFW, the North Texas non-profit dedicated to honoring veterans by taking them to Washington, D.C. to reflect at the memorials built in their honor, is getting help from citizens in North Texas, including Mrs. Texas International Rachel Hedstrom and local Plano business leader Craig Keeland.

"Our mission is big and our time is short," said Tudy Giordano, RN, president of Honor Flight DFW. "We are excited to have the help of some high-profile North Texans who believe in the mission of Honor Flight and know that this thank-you means the world to our veterans."

Mrs. Texas International 2012 Rachel Hedstrom, a volunteer for Honor Flight DFW, recently called on long-time friend Craig Keeland, founder and CEO of Plano-based CK Companies, for help with the group's mission. There are more than 400 veterans on the waiting list to go on the two-day trip, which costs the non-profit approximately $1,000 per veteran. Honor Flight DFW needs approximately $400,000 to realize its dream of getting World War II veterans to see their memorial before time runs out. Keeland made a substantial donation of $10,000, allowing ten more veterans to take the trip of a lifetime.

"He's a business leader and a visionary, so I knew that Craig would have the ability to help Honor Flight DFW," said Hedstrom. "But more than that, Craig has the heart of a giver and a pride in our country from being the son, grandson and great-grandson of veterans who have fought for our country and our freedom. I knew he could help and I was elated when he agreed."

"Four generations of my family proudly served our country and when Rachel contacted me, I was honored to join with Honor Flight DFW in its mission," said Keeland. "This is important to me and to the memories of generations of my family who have gone before me."

Veterans in Keeland's family include Claude B. Keeland, Sr., and Claude B. Keeland, Jr., neither of whom were able to visit Washington, D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor. Honor Flight DFW currently has approximately 400 veterans of World War II on its waiting list. At an average age of 91 years old, time is running out to honor these veterans with the ultimate "thank-you" for their service.

"I have traveled around the world," said Paul Fouts, a 95-year-old Honor Flight DFW veteran and volunteer, "and nothing compares to this trip. To be able to see the memorials along with my fellow veterans was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It means the world to me."

"We have a wonderful way to thank these veterans," said Giordano. "We have a fantastic trip, dedicated volunteers and experienced medical professionals ready to assist our veterans, and people ready to welcome them home and thank them for their service. We are grateful for leaders like Craig Keeland and we hope that others come forward to help. Our mission is possible because of the generosity of North Texas citizens and businesses."

To adopt a World War II veteran and make it possible for local veterans to see their memorials in Washington, D.C., please visit The local non-profit is in need of volunteers and funds to make its mission possible.

About CK Companies
CK Companies' Mission is to "Lead Others to Better Health" through the Whole Food Puree products that are manufactured and distributed in 26 countries and territories around the world. CK Companies maintains a strong tradition of Giving Back to Others. The statement: "We Are More Than a Company ... We Are a Cause"™ sums up CK Companies' commitment. Company C.E.O. Craig Keeland founded The Andes Children's Foundation in 2003 to support the educational needs of the children of the Vilcabamba Valley, high in the Andes Mountains. In addition, CK Companies is a proud supporter of the Susan G. Koman Foundation, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and has provided relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the China Earthquake of 2008, the Philippine Typhoon of 2009 and the devastating Japan Earthquake Disaster of 2011. For more information about CK Companies, visit For more information about Craig Keeland, visit

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