From Duluth with love

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.

joe_gomer.jpgIf 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.

  • Alison

    Thanks for these touching stories. There are a lot of good people in this world!

  • Great article! I am a Vietnam Veteran and Secretary for the local Charlotte EAA Chapter 309 in Charlotte, NC. I did a webblog entry called “Tuskegee Airman WWII Heros” for our local Monroe Veteran’s Day and Air Show which can be found with the other posts at

    Ms Gomer Douglas’s site is Wonderful!

  • Erling Kindem

    July 19, 3009

    Farmington, Mn.

    I had to honor of serving with Joe Gomer yesterday at the annual “Wings of the North” symposium at Flying Cloud Air Field, Eden Prairie, MN . I was wearing a cap with a Red-tail P-51 plane to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. It was given to me by a friend who read about a mission I was on out of Cerignola, Italy in a book by Stephen Ambrose; “The Wild Blue.” (Page 215). The P-51’s escorted a B-24 plane out of our formation that didn’t belong there. It entered our formation over Yougoslavia area after we emerged from thick cloud banks. The lead pilot told the P-51 pilots to get him out of there. They did. The last we saw of them was two P-51″ flying behind and above the

    bomber, heading back to Italy. We never heard more about it. I wouldn’t be here today if it was a captured plane used against us.

    Joe was a great guy – easy going. I told hime we have a place of Lake Vermilion out of Tower/Soudan, MN. I hope I can meet him again. I’ll be interviewed on KYMN radio 1080 AM on Monday, July 27, Northfield, MN. and I’m going to describe my experience with Joe and the former prisoner of war that was on the dcoket.

    Erling Kindem