With the help of a generous donation, the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum in downtown Abilene now only needs $500 to help cover additional insurance, and utility and exhibit costs for the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit.
The exhibit is headed to the museum on May 10th. The museum needed a total of $6,000 to bring the memorial which honors service members from Texas killed in Vietnam.
As of Saturday morning, the museum collected $4,750 and needed an additional $1,250 to finish the fund drive. That is until chairman of the museum, Dale Cartee, attended the Kiwanis pancake lunch Saturday afternoon and received a check from a lady for $1,000. According to Cartee, the woman wanted to honor her brother who served and was wounded in Vietnam.
The small staff at the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum in downtown Abilene is hard at work preparing for an award-winning traveling exhibit to make a stop in the front gallery of the museum.
"Well its wonderful, its a great opportunity, of course the other edge of that sword is that it is a very sudden opportunity" explains museum curator, William Lenches.
The museum staff only found out about the exhibit days ago, and they believe that the exhibit featuring 3,417 dog tags imprinted with each Texan Vietnam Veteran's name, branch of service, rank, date of loss, and hometown.
Dozens of the names on the dog tags called the Big Country home. "There's close to about 200 names that have Big Country hometowns, so we are really excited to be able to bring it into the community" says project coordinator, Jennifer Lenches.
Dale Cartee served in the Vietnam War and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the 12th Division Memorial Museum. He says he is thankful to be here to remember his fellow countrymen. "I was so lucky to come out whole, without even a scratch."
Cartee believes that this exhibit may serve as a way for some local veterans to heal. "The reception (when they returned from the war) was not always the greatest...it is changing."
The exhibit will be open to the public on May 9th. There will be an opening ceremony on May 10th at 1pm. The museum is still working to pay for the cost of the museum coming to Abilene. They are accepting donations at the museum which is located at 1289 North 2nd Street in Abilene.
To learn more about the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum visit their website.
For more information on the exhibit, click here.
There is a short film on the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans website that was created by Arrowhead Films.