Jefferson Award winners, August 2016: Operation Eagles' Wings - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jefferson Award winners, August 2016: Operation Eagles' Wings

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SAUK PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- Operation Eagles' Wings is a committee made up of 10 volunteers and collectively they've earned this month's Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Why? They're hitting unprecedented marks raising money to send local veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to Washington, D.C. through Badger Honor Flight. 

 "When they come back,  they'll say, this is the best day of my life." says committee member Fritz Wyttenbach.  "And when you get guys, or veterans that are 80 years old, 85 years old, and they say that, I mean, it doesn't get a whole lot better than that.  We're pretty fortunate in this country, what we do have and a lot of people take that for granted. We got that for a reason. Veterans are the reason."

Operation Eagles Wings' started with the goal to raise enough money to fund an entire Badger Honor Flight for up to 90 local veterans and their guardians.

They hit that goal of $100,000 in just five months through community fundraising events.

"Sauk Prairie is just a unique community and they're a giving community."

On September 24, the Sauk Prairie Badger Honor Flight will head to Washington, named in recognition of the fundraising campaign.

Committee member Jim Ballweg says, "When it all falls into place, it's just so much fun, So much fun."

Now, the group is looking ahead to fund a second flight, by raising $200,000.

Brian Ziegler of Badger Honor Flight says, "To know that a community of this size has stepped up and is gonna raise almost $200,000 for us, there's no other community in America that has done this.'

For this community and this committee it's all about helping the heroes.
"They've done their part, it's our turn to do our part," says Ballweg.

The committee is still holding fundraising events and will announce its grand total in September.

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