CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many U.S. soldiers have never been properly thanked for their service or welcomed home after battle.

The Virginia Honor Flight wants to change that, even if it's years late.

Honor Flight is a national nonprofit organization with new ties in central Virginia.

Thanks to the group, veterans from all walks of life are heading to Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 12, for an emotional journey.

Veterans from all across central Virginia enjoyed a warm welcome as they stopped at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Charlottesville on their way to D.C. for the Virginia Honor Flight inaugural trip.

“I'm not an emotional guy by any stretch of the imagination, but the first trip I went on just convinced me that this is something that I had to do,” Martin Leamy, the president and CEO of Central Virginia Honor Flight, said.

Leamy, who has been on many inaugural trips, realized there was not a chapter in central Virginia.

“One of my co-workers and I decided that we were gonna fix that problem, and so we went ahead and started our own hub,” Leamy said.

And the nonprofit provides support to their efforts.

“A lot of veterans were never properly thanked for their service or welcomed home,” Leamy said. “Specifically, a lot of the Vietnam guys were - they didn't experience that. And what Honor Flight does is it helps fix that. It provides these guys with closure and the knowledge that, ‘yeah what I did really was meaningful and people do appreciate it.’”

The collaboration with various groups in central Virginia brought the group to Charlottesville to be embraced as they set forth on a weekend of remembrance.

“It's kind of an atmosphere where they can let their hair down, talk to people that understand, and plan a way to - I don't know, it's kind of a family when you're in the military, so when you get out of the military you're looking for that family - that's what you get here,” Bob Wiman, the VFW Post 1827 commander, said.

The group is heading to Fairfax on Friday night, and on Saturday morning they'll begin the tour.

The next trip is April 26-28, and you can click here for more details on it. The trips are free of charge for veterans.