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 Licensed Medical Guardian

Each flight consists 8-10 licensed medical providers (MD, DO, APN, RN) who ensure a safe and enjoyable day for all involved on the flight. The role of the Medical Guardian on each flight is observation, basic first aid, and safety. The Medical Guardian must have a strong clinical background in triage and/or acute care. Cost to be a Medical Guardian is $276 and payment is expected once you are invited to participate on a specific date.  If you are requesting to fly with a specific veteran, please visit the Guardian page for more information.  To apply to be part of the Honor Flight Chicago Medical Team please download a Medical Guardian Application below and mail it to:

Honor Flight Chicago

Attn: Medical Guardian Application

938 West Montana Street

Chicago, Illinois 60614
Fax: 773.289.0909 
Mary E. Pettinato, Co-Founder & CEO

Mary Pettinato is the proud daughter of a WWII Veteran. She began her volunteer career at age 14 as a Candy Striper at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Recognized by the Chicago Tribune in 2015 as a “Remarkable Woman,” Mary’s volunteer efforts have ranged from serving those who have sacrificed much to defend our country, to lending her insights and energy to a number of volunteer boards in the Chicago community, including Old St. Patrick’s Church in the city’s West Loop. Mary holds a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and received the university’s prestigious Alumni Service to Society Award in 2014. Mary was recently appointed to the board of the national Honor Flight Network


John Ptak, President

John has worked in the financial services industry for more than fifteen years, with experience providing due diligence on public companies, private equity, and mid- to late-stage venture capital.  He currently is a Senior Research Analyst with Gofen & Glossberg, a Chicago-based financial advisory firm.  John graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has passed the Certified Public Accountant examination. John is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago. Outside of the office, John enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and two daughters. John’s devotion to Honor Flight Chicago was inspired by his late grandfather, “Papa,” who proudly served in the Army during WWII.


Renda Overbo, Vice President

Renda Overbo has been a contractor with the Department of Defense  for over twenty years working as a Project Manager. She added volunteer work with the USO to her schedule when nephew Josh joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq. She was introduced to Honor Flight Chicago during her ten years of volunteer time with the USO care package program. For the past five years Renda has served as the DC Volunteer coordinator for Honor Flight Chicago. Her connection to our veterans spans several generations. Renda lived next door to her Grandmother's brother who served in WWII. Her uncle and cousin served in Vietnam. Her husband Tim retired from the Army National Guard after twenty one years of service. 


William Hassett, CPA, Treasurer

Bill is a partner inthe McGladrey accounting firm’s National Real Estate Group and provides audit, tax, and business consulting services for real estate developers and investors. Bill is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society Real Estate Special Interest Group, the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, and the Illinois Housing Council. He is also Board President emeritus of DuPage PADS, the emergency shelter and supportive housing provider in DuPage County. His volunteer work at DuPage PADS included active involvement on the development, governance and government relations committees.


Michele Brocopp Zander, Secretary

Michele holds an undergraduate degree in Finance & Real Estate from Colorado State University and an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. Before taking time off to raise her family she was a manager with Deloitte & Touche, LLC.  Her unwavering support of the those who serve and have served our country is credited to her father who instilled this throughout her childhood and continues to inspire her today and to her grandfather who served in the Army during WWII in the Pacific. She in turn is passing this on to the next generation especially through her family with whom she lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago.


Alan Garfield

Alan is a partner with the Chicago law firm of Garfield & Merel, Ltd. His principal specialty is in the area of corporate transactions, banking and commercial real estate. Alan has served on and assisted various charitable foundations and boards along with being a member of and chairing various public commissions in his north shore suburb. Alan’s dedication to Honor Flight Chicago is to honor his father who served in the Army Air Force, Air Transport Ferry Command during WWII and never had the privilege of visiting the WWII Memorial and to honor those of his father’s generation who served and sacrificed.


Bonni Pear

Bonni Pear is one of Chicago’s best known and most highly respected public relations professionals, having represented high-profile clients including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney On Ice and Simon shopping properties in the country’s third largest media market for more than three decades.  A principal in Miller-Pear Public Relations for 20-plus years, Bonni merged her agency in 2014 with one of the country’s fastest-growing communications firms, Motion PR, where she serves as Executive Vice President and Director of Entertainment & Lifestyle Brands. Bonni holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.


Paul Meincke

Paul Meincke is a veteran broadcast journalist who retired from full-time work in September 2015 after 43 years in the TV news business - 30 of them as a general assignment reporter for Chicago's ABC7 News. Paul's assignments have taken him to Saudi Arabia where he spent six weeks covering the first Gulf War, and later to Belgrade where he reported on the release of three captured U-S Servicemen. Paul has done numerous stories on Chicago area veterans including those who've part of Honor Flight Chicago, and now he's privileged to serve on the board.

Honor Flight Chicago was founded to recognize Chicagoland’s World War II and Korean War veterans by flying them all-expense-paid to Washington DC for a day of honor, remembrance and celebration. Currently we are flying WWII and Korean War veterans, but we are accepting applications from Vietnam War veterans for future flights. After we have reached out to all WWII and Korean War veterans who are interested, we will begin flying Vietnam veterans to Washington DC.

Honor Flight Chicago, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was founded by Mary Pettinato, Jeanmarie Kapp, Nancy Kapp, and Suzanne Stanits. These four entrepreneurial Chicago women asked themselves what they could do to honor and thank these heroes, whose courage and determination still echoes down through the years. In February, 2008, they joined forces and made Honor Flight Chicago a reality.

While creating an unforgettable experience for our WWII veterans, the founders have also been profoundly touched and changed by their own Honor Flight Chicago experience—an experience that they hope will inspire others to join us in honoring our veterans. Honor Flight Chicago relies on our more than 700 volunteers who work tirelessly year-round to raise money for the flights and provide veteran outreach, community and school education, public relations, and logistical support.

Without the dedication and commitment of all of our volunteers and donors, we would not be able to deliver on the promise of honouring our WWII and Korean War heroes. We hope you will join us on our mission.

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This 10-minute Emmy-nominated video, narrated by Gary Sinise, provides an overview of Honor Flight Chicago and our veterans’ day of honor and remembrance in Washington, D.C. Although some of the numbers have changed since it was produced in 2008, the video still offers a great introduction and overview of the Honor Flight Chicago experience and our mission.

Download a Medical Guardian Application

Are you requesting to fly with a specific veteran?

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If you are requesting to fly with a specific veteran please visit the Guardian page and download the Guardian Application.

If you are interested in becoming a Licensed Medical Guardian on the Honor Flight Chicago Medical Team please download a Medical Application.



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