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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Miss Cedar Rapids hosts fundraiser for Eastern Iowa Honor Flight

By Lee Hermiston, The Gazette | Sep 12, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — When you look at the activities Mackenzie Eichhorn is involved in, you have to wonder where the time and energy come from.

Mackenzie, 12, is a seventh-grade student at McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Along with her regular scholastic activities, she is involved in gymnastics, the Iowa Skippers jump rope team, and she volunteers her time with several organizations, including the Iowa Donor Network and Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.

Mackenzie also is the reigning Miss Cedar Rapids, a designation she earned last November at the National All-American Miss Pageant.

She went on to be named second runner-up in the 2017 Miss Iowa Pre-Teen competition held in July. During that competition, she was the winner of both the spokesmodel event and the Heart of Service Award.

“I have a very busy schedule,” said Mackenzie, the daughter of Gerald and Jodi Eichhorn. “I try to keep it organized the best I can.”

Lately, Mackenzie has taken on even more responsibilities. She is organizing a fundraiser for Eastern Iowa Honor flight. The nonprofit organization flies veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War to Washington, D.C., so they can see the memorials dedicated to their service.

Mackenzie has attended the last six welcome home celebrations for the veterans who have taken the trip.

“It’s a really great experience,” she said. “I love seeing all the smiles on the veterans’ faces.”

The fundraiser is scheduled to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the gymnasium at St. Wenceslaus Church, 1224 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids. It will feature food, a rummage sale, silent auction, 50/50 auction and a bags tournament. Mackenzie said she’s collected auction items from 30 Cedar Rapids businesses.

“I’d obviously like to benefit the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight and give them as much money as I can,” she said.

Next year, Mackenzie said she plans to host another fundraiser, this time to benefit the Iowa Donor Network, an organization that facilitates both organ and tissue recovery and serves as a state’s primary contact for organ, tissue and eye donation.

As for this weekend’s fundraiser, Mackenzie said it is her first time organizing something this big. Fortunately, managing her busy schedule has prepared her.

“Definitely stay organized as best you can,” she said of her biggest lesson in planning the fundraiser.

Mackenzie said she’s hopeful the fundraiser will have a big turnout.

“It’s to support the veterans that have fought for our country and to give them the appreciation they deserve and to just give back to the community,” she said. “I just hope it’s a big success.”



What: Fundraiser for Easter Iowa Honor Flight

When: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gymnasium at St. Wenceslaus Church, 1224 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids

Details: Event features food, a rummage sale, silent auction, 50/50 auction and a bags tournament

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