Emily Cornelius met Vietnam veteran William Dread while working on a school project with the homeless population in Lakeland, Florida. She was 12 then and the two formed an unlikely friendship over the years and Emily’s family even helped Mr. Willie, as she calls him, move into an apartment and find furnishings with some assistance from some local organizations.
Emily has made it her mission to help the Army vet after he spent years living on the streets and he comes to cheer her on at her softball games. So when the now 17-year-old heard about an Honor Flight specifically for Vietnam veterans, she knew she had to get Mr. Willie in. With the help of the community, she raised money to make it happen and the two just made the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. this week.
"It means so much you can hardly put it into words,” Willie says. “I always wanted to go to Washington D.C. to see the monuments.”