A life of service... and golf
March 29, 2023
In 2019, with only 24 hours until takeoff, Korean War veteran Dick Hall, now 92, had a decision to make.
That year, he had been accepted to the Honor Flight, which honors veterans by taking them on a two-day, all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. where they visit memorials and build camaraderie. But tragedy and depression had also wreaked havoc on Hall that year, since he had recently lost his wife and other loved ones.
"I didn't do anything, I had just given up," Hall said. "And I thought if I don't go, somebody else could have. So I called my two friends in Loveland and said, 'Make sure I'm there.' ... It was a tremendous opportunity for me to get out and get rid of this garbage I had been carrying around."
Connecting with fellow veterans and seeing the nation's capital was just the beginning of a new life journey for Hall. Upon his return, he received three notable letters from school children: a third-grader from Evans, who loved ice cream; a senior class from Johnstown; and a junior from Eaton, who loved hockey.
Hall-who had worked with children through Scouts and Sunday school-was inspired to visit each one of them. For the Evans student, he organized an ice cream party; he stuck around and helped the senior class Johnstown teacher for two weeks; and he had a long conversation with the hockey enthusiast.
"He spent most of the conversation teaching me about hockey, like I didn't know anything about it," Hall chuckled. "These kids were a tremendous boost in my life."
But with this newfound inspiration and desire for connection, Hall wanted to do more. He wanted to give back to his community and strengthen it, particularly for veterans. That's when he turned to golf.
A lifelong golfer, he had previously organized golf tournaments for a variety of charities and other organizations. Hall quickly got to work, creating Honor Flight 1, "to give veterans an opportunity to visit memorials in Washington, D.C., to honor their service."
Since its inception, Hall and Honor Flight 1 (which now has a small support staff) have raised and donated more than $40,000 to the Honor Flight program.
This year marks the third year of golf tournaments organized to directly benefit Honor Flight, and they have already raised at least $6,000.
"My goal is just to get the word [about the Honor Flight program] out to everybody...It was just a tremendous opportunity," said Hall. "And, of course, the tournament is for everybody, not just veterans."
During the Korean War, Hall served in a fighter squadron as a radio and radar operator from 1950 to 1954. He settled in Colorado in the 1960s and worked as an air traffic controller. Upon retirement, he started working in the golf industry. Hall now lives northwest of Niwot and attends Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Niwot.
The 2023 Honor Flight 1 Benefit Golf Tournament is scheduled for June 19 at Pelican Lakes Golf Club. Information regarding schedule and registration can be found at http://www.highplainshonorflight.org/schedule