Military Heritage Museum
Fishermen's Village
1200 West Retta Esplanade, Unit 48
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950
Mon - Sat: 10am to 6pm
Sun: noon to 5pm
Admission is free
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11 February 08 - Goings-on at the Military Heritage & Aviation Museum

On Jan. 25, Congressman Tim Mahoney came to the museum for a private reception. He spoke of his pride for his family members and all others who have been in the military and the importance of museums like ours because they "give voice to what veterans experienced." He stated that, as long as he is working in Congress, he will make sure America is forever grateful to those who have served. He told the more than 50 veterans in attendance (and implied for others), "Contact me or my office to let me know how I can stand up for you." His local contact information is 18500 Murdock Circle, Suite 536, Port Charlotte, FL 33948, phone: 941-627-9100.

The design meetings continue with the ADP Design Group, which has now brought Vincent Ciulla of Ciulla Design on board to provide a conceptual design for the exhibit space throughout the Museum. Mr. Ciulla has over 40 years of experience in his field, and his work includes designs for the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, New Windsor, N.Y.

At our annual membership meeting on Feb. 6, the ADP Group showed conceptual drawings of the new museum. If you're interested in seeing these images and hearing about our plans, please call me. I'd be delighted to talk to your club or group.

Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda continues to be a great location for the Military Heritage & Aviation Museum. We're averaging 139 visitors daily, most of whom are truly fascinated by our displays. Our newest displays include a cannon used in the Indian and Spanish American wars, on loan from Don Coppola.

The cannon is easily identified, but we get some artifacts that aren't. The donor of the items pictured [below] told us that all he knew is that they are some kind of identification badges. Be the first to help us determine what they are in some way that can be verified and win a $25 gift certificate to use in our gift shop!

Some upcoming events of interest: On Thursday, we'll reveal our "Honoring Our Local Heroes" display. Come to the museum at 4:30 p.m. and meet the first local hero we'll be honoring. And don't forget to let me know of your own local hero by calling me at 941-575-9002.

On Saturday, Jeff Smith will be in the museum from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with his flight simulator. Bring your kids in to check out a dogfight simulation, or see what it's like to be up in the Goodyear Blimp, or any one of a number of other aircraft. Or let the kid in you have his way and check it out yourself. I know I'm planning to!

We now have a large bulletin board in the museum, the purpose of which is to post information about Charlotte County's local veterans groups. If your veterans organization has information of interest to veterans in general, please feel free to bring in a flier to post. You may post dates and times of regular meetings or information about special events or reunions. Veterans: Come in and see what's posted. Then spend an afternoon browsing through the rest of Fishermen's Village.

Here's an item I may post: Did you know that you can go to www.militaryreport.com and sign up for a variety of e-mailed newsletters? It's a free service, and a few of the items listed in one of recent e-mails I received are "3.5% Pay Raise is Finally Official"; "VA Travel Reimbursement Increased"; "4 Ways Servicemembers Can Get Money for College." There's usually something of interest for everyone.

And don't forget: Everyone is invited to our "I'll Be Seeing You: A Tribute to the USO." This dinner and USO-style show will be held at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County on April 12, starting at 6 p.m. More details will follow, but please get that written on your calendar now!

Kim Lovejoy is the executive director of the Military Heritage & Aviation Museum in Punta Gorda.

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