Brooke Pankonin | Johnson Publications

Toby Hansen wears the jacket, shirt and hat given to him on the Honor Flight Northern Colorado to Washington D.C.

93-year-old Grant WWII veteran takes flight

By Brooke Pankonin

Grant Tribune-Sentinel

Armand “Toby” Hansen of Grant visited Washington D.C for the first time in his almost 94 years, traveling on the Honor Flight Northern Colorado on May 7-8. 

Hansen’s daughter Judy Tickle said it’s been one of his great desires to take this trip, so she spoke to Perkins County Veterans Service Officer Stephanie Larson to see if there were any available to him, a World War II veteran. 

Larson helped them apply to two honor flights out of Colorado, and within two days they heard back from Honor Flight Northern Colorado because someone had to cancel. 

“Stephanie played a huge part in this. She needs all the kudos she can receive,” said Tickle. 

Hansen agreed. “She is a delightful gal and I think she does a wonderful job.”

Day One

Hansen joined over 120 other WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans on the two-day trip, which began at Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colo. He said only 11 were WWII veterans.

On Sunday, May 7, the veterans loaded into buses which were escorted by law enforcement, helicopters and Colorado Patriot Guard Riders to Denver International Airport.

Supporters gathered along the route to wave flags and cheer the veterans and their motorcade.

“I have no idea how many motorcycles there were out there, but there had to be over a half a mile of double rows,” said Hansen. Tickle said she was told if they were stretched out end to end they would’ve stretched over a mile.  

Upon arriving in Baltimore, the veterans were the guests of honor at a banquet at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel, with Vice President Mike Pence welcoming them and offering the keynote address. 

“He quit shaking hands at the row right ahead of me,” Hansen laughed. “We were running out of time, and it seemed like we ran out of time every place.” 

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