The Permian Basin Honor Flight Takes Off with ameriCARE Texas Executive Chairman, Dr. Rohith Saravanan

This year, our Executive Chairman, Dr. Rohith Saravanan had the unique pleasure of joining the Permian Basin Honor Flight as an attending physician. As former head of the Odessa Regional Medical Center, Dr. Saravanan often helped coordinate doctor participation for the flight, recruiting veteran MDs to share in the journey and look after veterans during the three-day tour. This year, however, the original doctor was unable to attend, and Dr. Saravanan was asked to take part in this incredible honor.

“It was a beautiful experience, with a lot of incredible storytelling and creating a lot of personal connections.”

Three Days, Two Flights, Three Buses, and 15 Events

The Permian Basin Honor Flight Team created an unforgettable agenda for area veterans who served in WWII, Vietnam, and Korea. This three-day tour took a group of 150 people, made up of fifty veterans, their support people, and volunteers from Texas to the D.C. area. The trip covered a wide range of activities including wreath laying events honoring those who served in each branch of our armed forces.

Highlights included:

  • WWII Memorial
  • Korean Memorial
  • Air Force Memorial
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Army Museum

  • Marine Corps War Memorial
  • Americans Disabled for Life Memorial
  • Navy Memorial
  • Military Women’s Memorial
  • The Tomb of the Unknown
  • The Changing of the Guard
  • FDR Memorial

Each visit was accompanied by special ceremonies, moments of reflection, and opportunities to connect with other veterans. These events not only fostered an environment for veterans to share their stories with one another, but also, to be warmly welcomed by communities, an experience they had not had when they returned from service.

“You know, a lot of these veterans didn’t receive a warm welcome when they got home from serving. There was a lot of hostility and ignorance around what they were doing and why they were doing it. In fact, many times, when returning home, veterans were told to ‘blend in’ and not speak to their experiences. But times have shifted, and this trip really helped give these incredible men and women the coming home welcome they deserved.”

Taking Care of Those Who Served While Honoring Their Sacrifice

To ensure the best care and safest trip possible, Dr. Saravanan conducted pre-flight health checks to clear each participant for the trip. He also worked with the Honor Flight staff to evaluate each stop to find the safest routes and to limit fall hazards. As the attending physician during the trip, Dr. Saravanan and three volunteer nurses provided medical support and personalized attention throughout the flight. The care team also carried complete medical files on each patient in the event of an emergency.

Dr. Saravanan of ameriCARE Texas with three Honor Flight nurses

“This really made me think about what we can do, as communities, as physicians, as caregivers, to better serve veterans and honor all that they’ve done and continue to do. Now, more than ever, we are working to help veterans secure the benefits they deserve and match them with quality caregivers to ensure a better, more fulfilled quality of life as they age.”

Coming Full Circle with ameriCARE Texas and the Honor Flight

Dr. Saravanan spent several years in family medicine and developed a fervent interest in working with geriatric patients. It was important to him to look beyond their charts to understand the senior patients in his care, which often led to long conversations and unique personal connections. Dr. Saravanan explained that the honor flight was special because it allowed him to go back to his roots in family medicine and senior care. While Dr. Saravanan says he can never truly understand the experience of our retired service men and women, he said this experience helped him better understand their perspective, and it left him in awe of their incredible sacrifice. It also created an immediate willingness to participate in the honor flight again, if asked.

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About the Permian Basin Honor Flight

The mission of the Permian Basin Honor Flight is to transport local veterans from 18 counties in Texas to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor. The Honor Flight a way to give back to veterans by showing appreciation and honoring their service and sacrifice for our country. Participation in an Honor Flight trip gives veterans the opportunity to share this momentous occasion with other comrades, to remember friends and comrades lost, and to share stories and experiences with other veterans. The Permian Basin Honor Flight is currently serving veterans from the WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras. They also serve terminally ill veterans serving during any era. All honored veterans travel at no cost.

“I got this sort of emotional rush during the Honor Flight trip. It reignited my passion for helping veterans all over again, in any way possible. It is ameriCARE Texas’ honor to serve the veterans in our communities, hear their stories, and share in their lives.”

Visit the Permian Basin Honor Flight Facebook page to see more photos and learn more about their mission!

Get the support you, or the veteran in your life, deserves with ameriCARE Texas. Our experienced team can help you navigate the VA and your health benefits to help get your in-home care covered.

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