HANNIBAL | Mother Nature provided a perfect day Sunday, Sept. 13, for the landing of the Tiger Flight Mask Mission at Hannibal Regional Airport, where 2,500 masks were delivered to American Legion members for all area military veterans and current soldiers. Each will receive a box of five free masks.
The Tiger Flight had been delayed from Saturday, when rain was forecast. Pilot Dave Hollabaugh helped the Legionnaires unload the masks for delivery in Hannibal, Palmyra, Mo., and other area cities.
The masks are the same as those provided to fire and police departments to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Hollabaugh, of Fulton, Mo., serves as treasurer of the Kingdom Pilots Association. He was making another delivery on Sunday, flying to Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Veterans are invited to pick them up at an American Legion and VFW hall. Jess Ornelas of American Legion Post No. 55 in Hannibal and Post Commander John Martin will lead the local distribution. They encourage Post 55's 328 members and all other military personnel to call the Legion Hall at 573-221-9698 to arrange a pickup.
Rick Hoenes, commander of American Legion Post No. 174 in Palmyra, and fellow member Wayne Gottman will have the masks at the Palmyra Legion Hall for the club's approximately 200 members.
They also will be available at the VFW Hall.
Hoenes invited veterans to call him at 573-248-9652 to pick up masks or arrange for delivery to other locations. He plans to announce the masks' availability in the Palmyra Spectator and on social media.
Ornelas is eager for all military personnel to receive the masks, and said he will be carrying them in his vehicle, so he can distribute them to veterans, such as those in his neighborhood whom he sees taking walks, and veterans he sees at church. He also plans to take them to the veterans' home in Mexico, Mo.
Bennie Dodd Jr. and Harold Pipkin of Post 55 also attended the fly-in on Sunday.