As Veterans Day nears, the Euharlee Welcome Center & History Museum is seeking the public’s assistance to broaden its special exhibit, “Honoring our Heroes: Local Veterans Past and Present.”
“The purpose is to show visitors the stories and sacrifices made by those that served in the armed forces, past and present,” EWCHM Director Katie Gobbi said. “The exhibit will feature items and documents from our permanent collection as well as loaned items from local families. Some of the objects will be the same as last year while also including new pieces.”
The exhibit will open Nov. 12 and continue through the close of 2020 at the Euharlee venue, 33 Covered Bridge Road.
“Our visitors seem to respond to the military uniforms,” Gobbi said. “We have an Army uniform from WWII from a member of the Nelson family that will be on display. A new item that is going to be on loan is an American flag that flew over a U.S. base in Kandahar and brought home by a Euharlee resident.”
Along with hoping “the local community will come out and see this exhibit,” Gobbi is encouraging the public to loan or donate items for the display. Some of the sought-after objects include images, awards, uniform pieces, equipment, letters and documents.
Those interested need to contact Gobbi at email@example.com or 770-607-2017, or connect with the museum on its Facebook page.
“As the title of the exhibit implies, I hope that visitors will be able to gain a better understanding of how many veterans are in our community and the sacrifices that they and their families have made,” Gobbi said.
While the exhibit is taking shape, another one of Euharlee’s veterans’ offerings will not return this year.
“As with everything, we have canceled in 2020, we are disappointed to not hold the Veterans Honor Walk,” Gobbi said. “Actually, this one probably [was] the toughest one because our purpose is to honor those who have already sacrificed so much. We will not hold the event this year due to COVID-19.
“Last year was the inaugural year for this event, and we had over 100 people in attendance, between the veterans and the crowd. With many of the veterans falling in the vulnerable population due to age, we thought the safest route was cancellation of the walk and reception.”
Spearheaded by the Euharlee Events Steering Committee, last year’s Veterans Honor Walk began at the Euharlee Masonic Lodge on Covered Bridge Road.
“In conjunction with the Stars and Stripes Flag Project, the committee partnered with the Euharlee Historical Society to flank both sides of Covered Bridge Road with American flags,” said Eric Smithey, chairman of the Euharlee Special Events Steering Committee. “We also worked with the Euharlee Welcome Center & History Museum to present a veterans' exhibit and the Bartow Krawlers 4x4 club to carry any veteran who had difficulty walking the trek, which started at the Euharlee Masonic Lodge and ended at the museum.
“I think everyone involved was happy with the results and proud to honor our local veterans. We look forward to resuming a sense of normalcy Veterans Day weekend 2021.”
For Smithey, the “most impactful portion unfolded” following the event.
“Army Master Warrant Officer David Ford Sr. rode in one of the Bartow Krawler's vehicles during the walk as I witnessed many of his family members cheering him on,” he said, referring to the Army veteran who enlisted in 1962 and retired after 32 years of service. “At the walk's conclusion, Mr. Ford made a point to find me and tell me how happy the event made him feel and how proud he felt that day for serving his nation.
“Less than a week after the Veterans Walk, Master Warrant Officer Ford unexpectedly passed away. It's moments like those that remind us of the necessity of such events. The Bartow Krawlers were so impacted by meeting Ford that they chose to escort his funeral procession a week later.”