Veteran Volunteers Dedicated to Reopening Military Museum

Published 02/06 2013 03:31PM

Updated 02/07 2013 08:27AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The doors of the National Military Heritage Museum are closed. Until further notice. But not forever.

"Because it needs to be here.  People need to know their history," said Mary McCune, a member of the National Military Heritage Society - the group that acts as the board of directors for the museum.  "As they say, you're doomed to repeat it if you don't know it."

The museum's long-time executive director Frank Flesher passed away in January.

But the volunteers who see to the upkeep of Flesher's collection of uniforms and models and all sorts of military memorabilia say that the death of the museum's founder will not be the death of the museum.

"We've talked about it for the past year," said volunteer and Coast Guard vet Alvan Ellis.  "What are we going to do when Frank leaves?  We all said, well we're going to keep it going."

McCune, herself a veteran of the Vietnam era, agrees.

"He was proud of being in the military; and the job he did and what he did.  And he felt that everybody else should feel the same way!" she said.

In the 1970s McCune worked in Fort Hood, Texas, repairing military helicopters.

She and the other dedicated volunteers are now rearranging the exhibits and preparing for reopening; they're preparing to keep military heritage alive in St. Joseph.

"I retired so I've got time on my hands.  It's something to do, to keep me busy," McCune said with a smile.

The museum has tens of thousands of artifacts, but they're not all out for the public to see.

In the coming weeks, volunteers hope to spruce the place up, organize the messy parts,  and turn it into the museum they know it can be.

The National Military Heritage Society is still looking for more volunteers to help with the organizing efforts.

Eager parties can come into the museum during normal hours to apply.

They hope to have the museum up and running again by early March.

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