It would be a pleasant diversion if the year-end reviews of the news that are so commonplace, would include the many kindnesses extended by average people to other average people who have done extraordinary things.
If they did, the story of Joe Gomer, 87, and the people of Duluth would certainly make the list.
Joe is a Tuskegee Airman, an African American World War II pilot, one of a couple hundred who are still alive. Barack Obama invited them to his inauguration, but there were no plans made to transport them around Washington or find them a place to stay. When you’re 80 and 90 years old, you don’t just fly off somewhere without having things like that settled. Besides, hotels in the DC area are ushering in the era of change by jacking hotel prices up to around $1,000 a night.
An article in Monday’s Duluth News Tribune (reg. required)started the donations. A travel agency and the Experimental Aircraft Association picked up the tab for the travel, and some Minnesotans have made arrangements with friends or relatives in the DC area to provide accommodations.
A similar story is playing out in Indiana. Quentin Smith, 90, told the Indiana Post Tribune a similar story. A day or so later, Smith had all he needed. “I was indifferent about going, really, but after all this the last few days, I feel obliged to go,” he said Wednesday, chuckling. “I had no idea that many people cared about my going.”
If you’d like to read more about Joe Gomer’s WWII exploits, visit a Web site dedicated to him from his daughter.