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Veteran receives warm welcome after missing 'Honor Flight' home

Vince Schiappi was welcomed by more than 100 people at the Fresno airport Saturday night. He was not able to return with the rest of the 14th Central Valley Honor Flight after he fell ill shortly before leaving Baltimore.

Hundreds welcomed the 14th Central Valley Honor Flight Wednesday in Fresno.

Vince Schiappi made the trip and was supposed to be on the flight.

Instead, he wound up in the hospital.

“They had to run tests on me,” the Army veteran said, after he wasn’t feeling well moments before boarding the flight.

Saturday, he was given the all-clear to return.

And he also received a warm welcome.

"I can't believe it. I'm overwhelmed. What a bunch!” he said.

Schiappi served in the Army between World War II and the Korean War.

He says he felt like a celebrity on his return flight from the visit to the East Coast and memorials including WWII, the Vietnam Wall, and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

He says the USO greeted him on his layover in Dallas.

He shook hands with passengers and got to take a picture with the pilots, too.

But he says the arrival in Fresno takes the cake.

“A greeting like this is something everybody dreams of. And from a bunch like this? They're the greatest. Top of the line. I'm so happy. I'm overwhelmed."

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