By Angela Greenwood

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A group of Sacramento-area veterans are in New Orleans to visit the National World War II Museum. It’s the trip of a lifetime for a group of men who risked their lives for their country, and it’s all thanks to actor Gary Sinise.

It was a hero’s send-off for 33 veterans who currently live at a senior veteran care facility in Yountville. They boarded a plane from Sacramento International Airport on Thursday to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Army veteran Paula Ross said, “I feel flattered. At my age, I like surprises. I’m 97.”

That’s 97 years young, she clarifies.

Ross has quite the story. She’s a Holocaust survivor who fled to the U.S. and joined the army as a German translator. She was able to share a sweet embrace with the man making this trip possible, Gary Sinise.

The Gary Sinise Foundation started in 2011 to give back to those who have served. With the help of American Airlines, he personally escorts the heroes on what’s called the “Soaring Valor” trip, taking the veterans on a special stroll down memory lane.

Sinise said, “Obviously, they’re getting older, and we want to try to get as many of them down there as possible, and we also record them on video, and those videos are also archived in the museum and used throughout the exhibits.”

The gratitude goes both ways.

“We love him, he loves us,” said one veteran.

A trip paying tribute to heroes to a place built in their very honor.

The veterans enjoyed dinner and a nostalgic show at the museum and will take a tour of it on Friday. Five Soaring Valor trips are planned in 2018.

  1. So grateful that my Aunt Penni Anderson was one of of the Veterans honored on the most recent trip to New Orleans. Thank you Gary Sinise!

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