Joseph Blaisse’s work with his Eagle Scout project, Be Prepared 2 Honor, earned him Eagle Scout status last year and more recently the Pennsylvania American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year award. It was his hard work and dedication to our nation’s veterans that pushed him beyond any other candidate for this honor. The award was bestowed to the Archbishop John Carroll High School junior based on his mission to support Honor Flight Philadelphia. Blaisse was sponsored for the Pennsylvania award through the American Legion Post 926 in Aston, PA.
Blaisse earned his rank as Eagle Scout late 2013; and in attendants at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor were U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan and Pennsylvania Sons of the American Legion Commander George Flasinski among others.
Honor Flight Philadelphia needed publicity to locate aging World War II veterans in their late 80s and 90s, to be given a Day of Honor bus trip to Washington, D.C., to visit Arlington National Cemetery and the major U.S. War Memorials, without cost to the veterans.
Blaisse quickly adopted Honor Flight Philadelphia as his Eagle Scout project. It was his goal to locate 25 WW II veterans and ask them to “Report for Duty”, for one final mission to honor fallen veterans and to be honored for their own military service. The Project would assign 25 Boy Scouts to be trained to serve as Guardians, one for each WW II veteran, providing cheerful service to heroes by sharing conversation while walking slowly with them or pushing them in wheelchairs throughout the day.
The project received a considerable amount of publicity through Blaisse’s commitment and hard work. Honor Flight Philadelphia proudly escorted six busloads of a total of 150 WW II veterans along with hundreds of new volunteers supporting Honor Flight Philadelphia.
Blaisse arranged for 150 motorcyclists, including the American Legion Riders, to meet the buses at the Pennsylvania and Delaware boarder. The escort also included the Pennsylvania State Police closing down the highways for the WW II heroes. When the convoy arrived back to Philadelphia, a large crowd of more than 700 people were waiting to greet them with a heroes’ welcome home.
The American Legion was so impressed with the success of Blaisse’s “Be Prepared 2 Honor” project that they contacted him to take the event state wide. Five months after the Honor Flight Philadelphia trip, another 175 WW II veterans were “Welcomed Home” from the war and got to travel to Washington D.C.