News from Oregon Coast Military Museum
Greetings from the sunny Oregon Coast. Time to update our supporters on a number of issues. First of all, we had a great 2nd Anniversary Celebration on Saturday July 1 as we combined efforts with the annual Wings & Wheels Fly in and Car Show. A HUGE thanks! to all of our businesses and individuals who supported this with raffle prize and door prize gifts, as well as the nearly 500 supporters who came thru the door that day! It was a great day and the event generated some much needed financial support to keep our doors open. Next - congratulations to the City of Florence with the recent announcement from USCG District 13 headquarters that we are being awarded 'Coast Guard City' designation - only the third city within Oregon to receive this award! The Oregon Coast Military Museum is proud to have been a part of this effort over the last couple years and we'll be participating in the award ceremony on August 16th at the Florence Event Center. We're very appreciative of our 'Coastie family' here in Florence! In addition, we will be unveiling a new USCG display at the beginning of August; if you haven't been in the Museum recently to see the completed United States Merchant Marine display, I invite you to do so. Your Board of Directors has been busy over the past year evaluating possibilities and options for a potential expansion of our facility. However, with concerns over lack of financial support indicators, and challenges with land use process, we have decided to suspend any potential expansion at this time. We will begin to evaluate our artifact collection policies to determine how we can better manage the volume of items we are receiving to utilize them more appropriately in conjunction with our display policy. Finally - I would like to share the July 'Military Heritage Chronicles' column that runs monthly in the pages of the Siuslaw News here in Florence, as I realize that many of you reading this may be outside the area. IT DOESN'T MATTER... The Siuslaw News July 12, 2017 I recently had the distinct honor of speaking to the nearly 500 Veterans and guests who were in attendance at the 99th annual Oregon State Convention for the American Legion, hosted here in Florence by our own Post 59. While the primary purpose for my presentation was to update those mostly-visitors about the Oregon Coast Military Museum, I couldn’t help also using it as an opportunity to thank them for their service to our nation throughout the last several decades represented by those in attendance. Paralleling the theme to our Museum which is an institution honoring all eras and all disciplines of military heritage, I commented that “It Doesn’t Matter” if they were Veteran or currently active duty; that “It Doesn’t Matter” what branch they served in (although there was a healthy dose of inter-branch ribbing and rivalry present), they still served our nation. Likewise, “It Doesn’t Matter” if they served in the 1950’s shuffling paperwork as a company clerk in the cold of Korea, or sat in a cold missile silo in the middle of Nebraska in the 1980’s, their service was important. “It Doesn’t Matter” if they were a brown water sailor in the waters off Vietnam, or flew an unmanned drone in the skies over Afghanistan, their service was needed. “It Doesn’t Matter” also applies to the Oregon Coast Military Museum. Since opening in 2015 thanks to the phenomenal outpouring of support from the community, we sometimes now get asked: “Why do you need more money – it’s already built?” We readily acknowledge that we only accomplished our goal of building the Museum because of that generous community support – both in funding, but also in donation of artifacts for fulfilling our mission to honor our Veterans. And, because of that response to preserve those artifacts, memories and experiences, we are now busting at the seams with displays and packed to the rafters with artifacts in storage. The Board has been busy in the last few months trying to determine IF and HOW we might expand the facility. However, that’s not the only area where we need the community’s continued financial support. It currently costs us roughly $44,000 annually to operate the Museum and keep the doors open. That covers salaries for two part-time employees at minimum wage, lease for the grounds, utilities, insurance, supplies etc., but that does not include any display or event expenses. While we do generate a small portion of revenue from daily admissions and gift shop sales, we still need your support through annual memberships and monetary donations. We are proud to have over 700 names on our Kilroy Corps list representing those early supporters during our initial effort. That list is now on display in the gift shop. However, we currently have only 65 annual memberships. We simply need more. We recognize there are multiple worthy organizations in our community that need financial support – including several Veteran organizations. But if we want to maintain this tribute to the service and sacrifice of our community’s and nation’s Veterans, we need your on-going financial support. And there are several ways you can provide that support. Please visit our website where you can find membership applications, Memorial Gifting forms and a pledge form offering several options to share your support. “It Doesn’t Matter” which form of support you select – but it does matter that we keep our Museum doors open and our mission moving forward. Thanks!