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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Prairie View Honor Flight program receives first donation

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Wendy Kinder, front row from left, hands a check to Prairie View student Kinsley Beattie with Reaghan McCarthy, Rebecca Dattoma, and Shawna Case during a meeting of the family of the late Ralph Nickell and PVHS staff and students. Also attending were, back row, Bub Nickell, Carrie Sewell, Tom Horstick, Chrisy Byerley, Kimball Uphoff, Stephanie Nichols and Tracy Konda. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

The Honor Flight program at Prairie View High School flew a little bit higher on Friday, Jan. 27. The family of a Parker man, who during his lifetime had immense pride in his service in the U.S. Navy, presented the program its first donation, a $2,000 check.

Wendy Kinder, daughter of the late Ralph Nickell, along with family members Bub Nickell, Carrie Sewell and Chrisy Byerley, presented the check to the group of five Prairie View students who will be charged with raising nearly $20,000 to send nine area veterans on an all-expenses-paid overnight Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.

Prairie View was recently accepted into a “hub” that includes several area schools including Central Heights, Osawatomie, Lyndon, Northern Heights, and Holton high schools.

After being accepted into the hub, the school was charged with finding students that will raise money for the trip, now scheduled for June 5-6. Those students will also serve as “guardians” for the veterans and will help them as they tour monuments and memorials in the nation’s Capitol. The group will also need to raise money to pay for expenses for the chaperones.

The students who have signed on for that challenge are Rebecca Dattoma, Shawna Case, Reaghan McCarthy, Kimball Uphoff and Kinsley Beattie. Sponsors for the group include teacher Tracy Konda and counselor Stephanie Nichols.

The Nickell family, which sponsors Ralph Nickell Memorial Roping event yearly in the fall, decided to sell t-shirts and gift baskets with the intent of donating the money to the Honor Flight.

Wendy Kinder, one of Ralph’s daughters, said the family decided to donate to the program because of her father’s pride in serving on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga. She said that family wanted to do something for other veterans.

When the family contacted Tom Horstick, a retired principal at Central Heights High School and now coordinator of the Honor Flight, about donating to the program, he suggested bringing Prairie View, from which members of the family graduated, into the hub.

Area veterans interested in being on the Honor Flight, or those individuals or companies that would like to donate to the Prairie View Honor Flight effort should contact Nichols or Konda at the high school, (913) 755-4447. Or send email to

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