Dover resident William “Bill” Willis has never forgotten his fellow airmen of the Eighth Army Air Corps and the heavy price they paid during World War II.
Nor will he forget bailing out of his B-24 Liberator over Holland. Although injured in the shoot-down and held captive by the German army, he was more fortunate than several of his fellow crew members who didn’t survive.
The Eighth Air Force was established as VIII Bomber Command in Langley Field, Va., in January 1942. Later that spring, an advanced detachment was established near RAF Bomber Command Headquarters at RAF Daws Hill, England. They were often referred to as “The Mighty Eighth,” specializing in heavy strategic bombing.
In a way of paying it forward to his fellow veterans of succeeding generations, 95-year-old Bill Willis and his wife Betty presented a $10,000 check to the Friends of Delaware Veterans Dec. 21.
The Friends is the official fundraising organization of the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund, under the auspices of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs.
The trust fund provides emergency financial assistance to veterans residing in Delaware. It has prevented utilities shutoffs, stopped vehicle repossessions, and made emergency repairs on homes via one-time grants paid directly to creditors. The Friends board comprises military veterans who serve pro bono.
“Mr. Willis was honored by the Delaware Legislature in June 2019 on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. I can’t think of any more selfless gift to help veterans than this,” said Dave Skocik, Friends president.
To make tax-deductible donations, go to DelawareVeteransTrustFund.com.