By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — Editor's note: This is the first of four stories on Veterans Memorials established in Jefferson County.
By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — Running out of room in the main hallway, the Jefferson County Hall of Honor at the Mt. Vernon Airport has expanded.
Tribute boards are now being placed in an auxiliary room off the main hallway.
“We've moved into the new room in there, and I think we already have some pictures on that wall,” said Hall of Honor Committee member Clarence Duckworth.
“We've run out of space in the hallway and started moving into that room this week,” he added. “The word is getting out about us. There's people from Texas who know we're here. We actually had a couple of donations for the museum from Texas.”
Duckworth said he was in Texas in July and a woman donated her deceased husband's duffle bag.
The number of tributes has grown to 440, according to Cliff Christianson, another Committee member.
The idea for the veterans memorial was the brainchild of the late R.D. White — whom the museum is named after —during the 2009 EAA Fly-In.
White asked Manager Chris Collins about putting up a remembrance of military men and women from Jefferson County. White and Collins took the idea to the Airport Authority, who agreed there should be a permanent display in Koziara Terminal.
“We had no idea when it started it would grow to this extreme,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth said there are still a few veterans who are hesitant to have tributes on display, but families of veterans have been very positive about the exhibit.
“I don't understand why they wouldn't want to be on it,” Duckworth said.
“I think most of it is the decedents,” added Committee member Chris Christianson. “Most of these are submitted by family members. The decendents want to see their dad or grandpa up there.”
No veteran is refused admittance to the Hall of Honor.
“You should see some of these kids out here. They really get excited,” Duckworth said.
“This is here as an honorable thing and a show of appreciation to the men and women in the service, no matter what dates they served,” added Committee member Don Davis.
The museum is staffed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and is shown by appointment as needed. The Hall of Honor is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We do encourage schools, clubs and such to come out. We've had 4-H, Young Marines and some civic organizations out here. We are open for anyone wanting to take a tour,” Duckworth said.