Mid-Summer News 2013

Summertime! Not at all a vacation period for the Board of the Museum of the American Military Family. In preparing this mid-summer report, I thought I’d go chronologically, but so many of our actions are intertwined that it’s best just to list them.

 For starters, Operation Footlocker will be on display three times in August. Circe will have one in the Word of Life Church in El Paso, and on August 23, at the Albuquerque VAMC, and Joan and I will show one at the Overseas Brats Reunion in Daytona Beach. These are opportunities to tell our story to an engaged audience and give us a chance to solicit support for our building fund.

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Flat Stanley and Stella march on, even as the project winds down. Caroline has had them from New York to Korea, and the Albuquerque Special Collections Librarian is organizing their reports for an exhibit in November. We have had dozens of people sending us photos from around the world—from Croatia, Canada, Germany, and of, course, the USA.

Circe, Jayne, David, Larry, and I have kept in touch with political supporters, having had meetings with the senior field representatives of Senator Heinrich and Representative Lujan-Grisham and several discussions with Bernalillo County Commissioners Wayne Johnson and Maggie Hart-Stebbins, and with Sandoval County Commissioner Orlando Lucero. Circe, Joan, and I have met several times with the Director of Development for the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and with the Nuclear Museum Director for discussions about fund-raising and for planning our 2014 exhibit now scheduled for next Memorial Day weekend through August 31.

 

This Memorial Day, Circe spoke at the Sandoval County Vietnam Veterans memorial ceremony. That same week she had extensive discussions with the President of the Fort Bayard Historical Society about possibly establishing a MAMF Center down there. She, Joan, and I attended conventions of Disabled Veterans of America and the Marine Corps League. The Rio Rancho Elks Lodge 2500 gave us several historic documents, books, and World War II training manuals for our library. I traveled to Santa Fe to make a Museum presentation to the New Mexico Order of the Purple Heart.

 We have eight  grant applications pending requesting funds for the Nuclear Museum exhibit, equipment, and building support.

 The Bernalillo County Commissioners have already pledged their support for the Nuclear Museum exhibit. From various VFW, American Legion, and other Veteran-related organizations, we have received $1,300 in to help us carry out our mission of telling the story of American’s military families.

The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Library system has provided MAMF a study room in the Main Library for storage and administrative work. With the help from our volunteer, Phyllis, we have begun to catalog our collection in an online database. Check out our blog: At Ease Books! for more information.

 

Throughout this early part of summer, Circe and Iain have conducted supportive and encouraging interviews with Veterans and their families. Check out our podcasts here

 

A summer highlight was our attendance in Santa Fe of the festivities honoring SFC Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient, who parachuted into the city then helped Governor Martinez unveil a statue in his honor. Larry, Circe, Joan, and I had considerable time with SFC Petry who commended our work and thanked us for it.

 Circe, David, and I also attended a couple of “BASH” evenings sponsored by the New Mexico Business Coalition which enabled us to mingle with business and legislative leaders from throughout the state.

 Last week we looked at eight former Wherry Housing Units resting on skids in a South Valley industrial park. Some ten years ago they had been “salvaged” from Kirtland Air Force Base. Earlier this week, a team of volunteer engineers looked them over for us and pronounced them structurally sound and safe but in need of considerable cosmetic refurbishing. Under consideration: finding sponsors willing to finance refurbishing and relocating four of the buildings and asking another entity – the city or county, for example – to provide a site for them.

 

On July 13 the Board met to review much of the above and to suggest potential fund-raising activities, and we bid Claire Lissance, our artist-in-Residence, a fond farewell. She’s been such a creative force in our small museum, and she promises to come help us out with our up-coming projects…Next up: Organizing Exhibit Work Groups to plan, design, and execute the exhibit “Sacrifice” at the National Nuclear Museum next spring and summer, and also to plan a fashion and poetry fundraiser this fall…

 Allen Olson, Secretary/Public Affairs

 

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