Jane Lew resident Margorie Paugh, an Army veteran who served as a nurse in WWII, was the only woman veteran who participated in this year’s honor flight that took place on Oct. 2, and departed from the North Central West Virginia Airport, located in Bridgeport.
Paugh, along with over 80 other veterans, were welcomed at the airport with applause and patriotism from around the area.
When they arrived, they had a heroes’ welcome, with cheers at Washington D.C.
Paugh said that everywhere they went in D.C., people clapped for the them and other soldiers and veterans saluted them.
This was Paugh’s first Honor Flight, but not her first trip to the United States Capital, she said that this time was different and more special to her.
Paugh was signed up to participate in the Honor Flight by her friend Sheila Reel, who heard about the flight by seeing a small advertisement in a newspaper.
The veterans and their guardians visited memorials throughout D.C., including the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, Roosevelt memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Women’s Service Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and more.
“It [the experience] was fantastic, I have been to D.C. many times, but this was a special, different feeling to go on the flight,” said Paugh.
She said that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was one of her favorite experiences on the trip, saying that it was something that no one will ever forget.
“There were kids there on school field trips and there wasn’t a sound in the air,” said Paugh.
“I was impressed with the people who would clap as we drove by,” she recalled.
Paugh was originally from Clearwater, Pennsylvania, then attended nursing school in Passvant Hospital in Pittsburgh.
She joined WWII toward the end of the war and served 18 months in the Army. She started out as a scrub nurse in the operating rooms, however was promoted to being the supervisor of four wards in a tent area at Night Station Hospital, located in Japan.
During the war, she met her husband William Paugh, who also served in WWII as a Military Police Officer, at the hospital that Paugh was stationed.
After she was married the couple moved to West Virginia, where Paugh worked at the “Old State Hospital”, now known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, then retired from Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Sharon Spevock, Paugh’s guardian on this flight, requested to be a guardian four years ago, but was put on a waiting list for two years before she was able to get on the flight. Spevock requested to be paired with WWII veteran both years, because she felt, they may never have another opportunity to experience the event.
Spevock has a special place in her heart for veterans, and has a service dog that she takes to the veteran’s facilities to visit with them.
“Every year there is something new about it [the Honor Flight],” said Spevock.
She said that she keeps in touch with her veteran from last year, and they have dinner once a month.
“It’s like you meet a new friend, who you will never lose,” she said.
A guardian’s responsibility on the flight is the veteran they are assigned to. They keep them safe and are there for them, with whatever they need.
“My job was to make sure she had a remarkable time,” said Spevock.
“The most memorable moment was when Paugh saw the dogs at the airport, the smile on her face was amazing. The welcoming the veterans received at both airports, was a big highlight, because so many veterans didn’t get a welcome home,” recalled Spevock.
Paugh was also presented with an award at the Women’s Memorial, for her service.
Paugh also volunteered at the VA Hospital for 42 years, until 2015. She is a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and still stays involved in local events and committees. She has held several State and local offices with the DAV as well.