COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - "It was the best thing I ever did," said Rachael Klein.
Rachael Klein joined the military in the 1940's as a member of the WAVES, the Navy's first group of females.
"My dad said when you're 21 you can do what you please until then, so off I went to Washington," said Klein.
She hopes to go back to our nation's capital next month, on Collier County's first Honor Flight.
"To the best of my knowledge we're the newest chapter, just two weeks ago today we were given approval by national Honor Flight to start working," said veteran and Director, Sean Lux.
For Lux, working means raising money and finding veterans to take their first trip this Veteran's Day. All this, while the government remains closed.
"Can't control that but I think we all saw your news a little bit ago, and saw the very first day the shutdown there was an Honor Flight out of Mississippi, that we are affiliated with, that broke down the barricades anyway. So the World War II veterans weren't gonna be held up by the barricades in Germany, they surely were not going to be stopped by the barricades in D.C.," said Lux.
But time is running out, their goal is to raise $25,000 by Wednesday.
"For these gentlemen, most are about in their mid 90's, a week or two is a major portion of the days they have left and so thats one of the reasons its vital we try to get this particular flight in," said Wayne Smith, a veteran who flew as a pilot in the Air Force.
So far they've raised about $10,000. There is an Honor Flight chapter out of Punta Gorda. But Lux said they are on a waiting list - a year and a half before veterans can go on the next trip. So the Collier chapter was created to make sure everyone had the opportunity to go.
You can reach the Collier County chapter of the Honor Flight at 239-777-9295.