14 January 08 - Plenty of Exciting News from the Military Museum
For this inaugural monthly column of the Heritage & Aviation Museum, I’m happy to report some pretty exciting news. If you’ve already heard or read some of it, please bear with me! It’s worth repeating.
The Museum is back in Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda. It’s located in the first unit on the left, so you can’t miss it. More than 2000 square feet of space with many displays are there to interest and educate you. And then, of course, there’s the rest of Fishermen’s Village to enjoy.
Our best news lately is that the Museum has a new honorary chairman. While we mourn the passing last year of Paul Tibbets, our past honorary chairman, we are delighted to have enlisted the support of the Honorable Sean O’Keefe. O’Keefe is the Chancellor at served as the tenth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Defense, and Secretary of the Navy. O'Keefe was presented with the Distinguished Public Service Award in 1993 by President Bush and Secretary Cheney.More good news: the board of trustees has recently entered into an agreement with The ADP Group of Sarasota for architectural services for the design of the museum's permanent structure to be built at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda. The Museum has a 50-year lease with the Airport Authority for a five-acre site on Piper Road. The new facility will be approximately 20,000 square feet and will feature more than 10,000 square feet of exhibit space, a USO-style canteen and a conference center.
Back to our current facility: with more than 50,000 artifacts, the Museum’s displays change almost daily, so visiting will always be worth the trip. But there are also other reasons to visit. Do you have an American flag that is faded or fraying? Buy yourself a new one and bring the old one into the Museum. We’ll make sure that it will be properly destroyed. And check out the Museum’s gift shop – a great place to purchase a gift for someone for whom it can be difficult to find just the right thing to buy.
Did you know that, in accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era, from September 2, 1945, to December 26, 1991? We can assist veterans or their heirs with the paperwork for this. We can also assist veterans or their heirs with obtaining copies of DD Forms 214 and a (one-time only) reissue of authorized medals. Come to the Museum and we’ll show you what to do.
We want to help you; can you help us? The Museum is just one weapon shy of being able to boast having a collection of fire arms representing all of the wars/conflicts from the Spanish American War through the Korean conflict. (Fear not, folks. Our weapons have all been deactivated.) If you have a Springfield rifle, 30X06, 1903 or 1903A (with bayonet if possible), and you’re willing to part with it, please call me at 575-9002, so we can call our collection complete.
While we’re proud of the ways in which we honor those who have served in the past, we’d love to also honor those who are currently serving. If you have a loved one who is serving in the Middle East now, please call me at 575-9002. We would like to honor someone every month by placing his or her photo and a brief biography on display.
I’ve saved one of the most exciting things for last. Mark your calendars! On Saturday, April 12, we will present “I’ll Be Seeing You -- A Salute to the USO.” This fundraising event will include a dinner and USO-style show presented by Valerie Sneade and Turning Leaf Productions, to be held at the Cultural Center. Start looking now for forties-style garb to wear! More information will be forthcoming.