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November 21st 2023 | Written By Press Release | Share

Ford International Airport to Host Operation Handshake to Welcome Active Military and Veterans to West Michigan

Ford International Airport to Host Operation Handshake to Welcome Active Military and Veterans to West Michigan

Nov. 22 Event Will Greet Honored Travelers with Words of Thanks and Patriotic Songs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., November 21, 2023 – Operation Handshake will be held on Nov. 22 at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport where active military members and veterans will receive a patriotic welcome to West Michigan.

As military members and veterans arrive in West Michigan, military affiliated groups will line the concourse exits of the Ford International Airport to greet and thank them for their service. The daylong event will include members of the Patriot Guard Riders and Blue Star Mothers greeting the honored travelers, waving American flags, offering words of thanks and singing patriotic songs.

“The Ford International Airport is proud to host this annual event that honors those who have served our nation,” said Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority Chief Operating Officer Alex Peric. “We invite our community members to join us in welcoming our military members to West Michigan.”

Operation Handshake is free and open to the public, activities will start at 8 a.m. that day in the Airport’s Grand Hall by the security screening checkpoint.

“Each year it is an honor to greet veterans and active military and see the expressions on their faces,” said Phil Pakiela, captain of the Patriot Guard Riders of West Michigan. “We invite the community to join us for Operation Handshake to thank the brave individuals who fight for our freedom.”

Loved ones of military members and veterans traveling through Ford International Airport on Nov. 22 are encouraged to participate in Operation Handshake and provide flight information to Patriot Guard Riders, including arrival time. Information may be provided to Phil Pakiela via email at papapakiela@gmail.com or by phone at 616.916.3064.

ABOUT THE GERALD R. FORD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the second busiest Airport in Michigan, serving business and leisure travelers with nonstop and connecting flights on seven airlines. The Ford International Airport is managed and operated by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. For more information, visit flyford.org or follow the Airport on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @FlyGRFord.

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Topics: Press Release, Airport Authority, Community