East Texas veteran taking part in Heroes Flight gets hero’s send-off at home

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Published: May. 22, 2019 at 11:32 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - On Thursday morning, an East Texas World War II vet will be taking off on the trip of a lifetime.

The Brookshire’s Heroes Flight takes off for Washington D.C. on Thursday, and the trip almost got away from one of those heroes, because of a severe injury.

Howard “Boots” Early suffered some serious injuries a couple of months ago when a grandfather clock fell on him as he was trying to fix it.

“He broke three ribs and cracked his pelvis in three places," said John Early, Howard’s son.

Due to the injury, he was unsure if he would be able to take his heroes flight.

“I wasn’t sure that I was able to go, but I’ve been doing a lot of therapy and getting ready for this,” said Howard.

With the heroes flight as his motivation, Mr. Early worked hard and will be leaving for D.C., as planned, on Thursday morning.

“This was quite a bit of good motivation for him to get back on his feet,” said John. “And he has; he’s done real well.”

According to Howard, the trip has a busy schedule with many things he’s looking forward to seeing, but he’s most looking forward to the World War II Memorial.

And if the trip itself isn’t exciting enough, his son Jim will be joining him on it.

“My youngest son is going with me, which is a doctor,” said Howard. “They’ve asked him to be the doctor on the flight.”

The Arabella Assisted Living Community in Longview, where Mr. Early lives, threw him a send-off celebration on Wednesday afternoon and his friends from the local VFW post were able to attend.

“Boots is one of the regulars here," said Ben Gurganus, the junior vice commander at VFW post 4002. "We’ve known about this for quite a while and have been very excited for him because it’s just a chosen few that get to do this.”

Mr. Early said he is all packed and ready to go for the trip he’s been looking forward to for a long time.

KLTV’s Blake Holland will be on the trip with the veterans, keeping everyone back in East Texas updated along the way.

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