Burke Veteran Inspired by Recent Mail Call

Burke Veteran Inspired by Recent Mail Call

Honor Flight artwork makes up display at South Run Rec Center.

Arnie Daxe with Shelly Zocchi and her godfather, retired USMC Colonel Barney Barnum Jr., Medal of Honor recipient.

Arnie Daxe with Shelly Zocchi and her godfather, retired USMC Colonel Barney Barnum Jr., Medal of Honor recipient.

Burke resident Arnold Daxe is an Army veteran that joined forces with Rosario 
Arnie Daxe in front of the display at the South Run Rec Center.


Bombaugh at South Run Rec Center to honor the veterans and not let their service to the country be forgotten. For Veteran’s Day, they gathered letters and drawings from children across the country to create a commemorative display at South Run.

They both helped out on the 100th Honor Flight from Chicago with 115 veterans last April, and the project grew from there. The Honor Flight Network is a national network of independent hubs working together to honor the nation’s veterans with an all-expenses paid trip to the memorials in Washington, D.C., a trip many of the veterans may not otherwise be able to take. Participation in an Honor Flight trip gives veterans the chance to share this trip with other veterans, to remember friends and comrades lost, and share their stories and experiences with each other.

Along with the veterans aboard that airplane was a sack full of correspondence to the veterans that they called the “Mail Call,” and it inspired a Veteran’s Day idea by Daxe. 

“Lots and lots of drawings from kids,” Daxe said.

Daxe is an 81-year-old Vietnam veteran who has been volunteering with the Honor Flight Chicago group for several years, and has been a USO volunteer at both Dulles and Ft. Belvoir. 

"While returning to Midway airport when the day ended, about halfway back to Chicago, a staff member yelled ‘Mail Call’ like they used to do overseas. With that they called out each veteran and brought over a big envelope filled with letters, good wishes, colorful school drawings and such, all of which raised some tears in my eyes when I went through them," he said.

When he’s not doing work with the veterans, he works out at South Run, and that’s where he met Rosie Bombaugh, the office manager at South Run, and came up with the idea for the Veteran’s Day display. 

The children’s drawings inspired him. 

“I didn’t know anybody still cared,” he said.

Bombaugh helped put it all together. "I believe in what our vets have done and the fact that we should never forget," she said. 

When she's not at South Run, Bombaugh is a volunteer on a flight to Chicago as a greeter, and participates in "Run Blue," a running event to remember the sacrifices. "My last race was the Marine Corps 10K honoring a young army officer who lost his life in 2011," she said.