Rector Community Museum Dedicates Military Room
The new military room at the Rector Community Museum was officially dedicated Monday, in a ceremony attended by several dignitaries, volunteers and supporters.
By the program’s start time on the observance of Veterans Day, chairs filled and people milled about, admiring the various Rector history displays. Large groups of veterans, residents of Rector and surrounding areas, along with Rector Mayor Teresa Roofe, State Representative Joe Jett, area pastors and members of the Veterans Assistance Association and news reporters filled the new home of Rector Community Museum.
The dedication of the military room brought out the large crowd, as the program began with the unveiling of the mannequins dressed as soldiers representing all branches of the military.
“Applause was loud and appreciative gasps and cheers made us feel good,” said board member and project coordinator Marvin Gatewood. “Other portions of the main showroom have been a work in progress for many months and the result is a labor of love.”
“We are still in need of donations and help in getting moved,” continued Joey Pruett, current chairman and director.
Pruett welcomed the huge crowd, with Mayor Roofe adding special welcome and appreciation for the museum board. Danny Ford served as M.C. for the event and during his comments he mentioned how he, and wife Gail, were enthusiastic about helping with the program and supporting veterans.
Rep. Jett commended the people of Rector for donations, support and hard work toward the museum project. “Not many small towns have what Rector has – a huge sense of community spirit,” he offered.
As a part of the effort Betty Essman, chair of the Woodland Heights Cemetery Commission, prepared a booklet of information about all veterans who are buried at the Rector cemetery along with other information people can use for research. She shared with the crowd details about her work for veterans and the 855 flags placed at graves for Memorial Day.
Jon Bradshaw spoke on behalf of all veterans, speaking of his pride in service to the United States of America, and especially his service in the Vietnam War. He closed with remarks about Glendel Beckley, local World War II veteran who served over three years in the South Pacific. During that time he was a part of the capture of Manila, and later the return of General Douglas MacArthur.
Also on hand for the ceremony were family members who donated items of military and community history. Ford concluded with a statement of dedication of the military room, noting it is, “honoring those who keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“It’s amazing. You all have worked so hard,” offered Rector City Council member Lark Sigsby. “It just gives me goosebumps. My heart is full.”
Museum board members shared that the process of moving is continuing over the next month, adding that several important artifacts have yet to be moved. “Soon, we will announce and publish museum hours and welcome everyone to the new home of the Rector Community Museum,” added board member Cathy Louder.