Since Vanquish’s inception in 2007, supporting veterans and veteran causes has remained close to the hearts of Vanquish’s president, management and employees.
Among recent veterans causes, Vanquish Worldwide, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, is honored to take part in the HonorAir Knoxville’s Flight 20 on Wednesday, April 13th, as part of Vanquish’s premier sponsorship of the 2016 Smoky Mountain Air Show. A portion of air show proceeds will benefit the HonorAir Knoxville organization, a nonprofit dedicated to sending World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans free of charge to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials built in their honor. During the most recent flight on April 13th, 25 World War II, 53 Korean War and 47 Vietnam War veterans took the trip to Washington, D.C.
Over the past 10 years, HonorAir Knoxville has taken more than 2,500 veterans on the trip, which is free of charge and includes all meals and snacks.
Established by Knoxville-based Prestige Cleaners, HonorAir Knoxville was designed to honor East Tennessee World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans by taking them on a one-day, all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The program took its inaugural flight in fall 2007 and continues to see financial and emotional support from across the community.
The idea began after Eddie Mannis, president of Prestige Cleaners and chairman of HonorAir Knoxville, heard about a similar program in North Carolina, where a friend lost his father, who had served in WWII and had donated money to help build the memorial in Washington, D.C. The man never had the opportunity to see the memorial.
HonorAir Knoxville takes two flights a year — one in the spring and another in the fall — but Mannis said frequency of flights is dependent on funding. Each fight costs about $65,000.
Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis and priority is given to WWII veterans, those with medical issues and veterans who have not yet seen the memorials. If the response exceeds allotted space, veterans are placed on a waiting list for a future flight.
The Smoky Mountain Air Show sponsorship was a perfect fit for President and CEO Eric W. Barton, a retired U.S. Marine, and his family of companies, who consistently champion supporting the U.S. military, veterans, their families and veteran organizations and causes to benefit veterans.
“This 2016 Smoky Mountain Air Show will not only honor our veterans but also serve as a patriotic salute to the military and the warfighter across foreign and domestic ground. As a retired U.S. Marine, I couldn’t be more proud to honor our nation’s military personnel than through this event,” Barton said. “I hope that this air show will enlighten our children and families on just how blessed our nation is to have such veterans and troops serve in our nation.”
Throughout its existence, Vanquish has regularly supported the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs (SMSD) organization, which provides custom trained mobility assistance service dogs free of charge to local disabled veterans, most recently sponsoring service dog “Vanner” and regularly making monetary contributions to the organization. In addition, Barton has established The Gypsy Gift and Honoring Our Heroes programs through Vanquish’s sister company LexLin Gypsy Ranch, where he has donated 30 Gypsy Vanner Horse Society-registered horses to therapy centers across the U.S., impacting and enriching the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
As part of the sponsorship and dedication to HonorAir, Vanquish will be sending two employees, Executive Vice President Greg Guiney, a 21-year Army veteran who served in various positions including Battalion Commander and a Combined Arms and Services Staff School instructor, and Proposal Manager Courtney Guiney, to assist veterans during Wednesday’s flight and trip to Washington.
Greg Guiney, a 21-year Army veteran who served in various positions including Battalion Commander and a Combined Arms and Services Staff School instructor, said he is honored to have the opportunity to interact and give back to fellow veterans.
“Any opportunity that I could spend to give back to those veterans is a humbling honor,” Guiney, whose two sons are currently serving in the military, said. “I am very happy to spend some time to support these veterans.”
“I’m excited to be in the presence of all these men and women who’ve fought for our freedom. I’m excited to hear their stories and seeing how they react to the memorials,” Courtney added.
Vanquish Worldwide strives to hire veterans, particularly those who have transportation, logistics and/or security experience during their military service that would directly benefit service lines at Vanquish Worldwide. Close to 90 percent of all Vanquish’s project management staff are veterans and/or retired from the U.S. military, along with countless family members of Vanquish employees who have served or are currently active in the military.