North Central Texas College and City of Gainesville officials opened a new Medal of Honor museum at the college on Thursday.
Medal of Honor (MoH) recipients, MoH committee members, NCTC faculty and many more turned out for the event in the main Visitor Center parking lot, near the site of the new museum at California and Bonner streets.
“We know that without those who were willing to put their lives on the line, we wouldn’t have the life we have today in this community, in this state, or in this country,” said State Senator Drew. Springer (R-Muenster), who helped secure the museum’s $5 million funding from state officials.
NCTC, Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Economic Development Corporation, and the State of Texas, as well as input from the MoH Host City Committee. “The MoH Host City Museum has been a topic of conversation for over five years now,” said NCTC Chancellor Dr. G. Brent Wallace. “Thanks to the support of Senators Jane Nelson and Drew Springer, we will have seen this dream for the community of Gainesville come to fruition.”
The museum was designed by architects BYSP of Wichita Falls, who worked with NCTC on the Leo and Mabel Scott Health Sciences Center and Industrial Trades Center.
The museum will also serve as a community meeting center.
“We’re trying to design it with flexibility in mind,” BYSP’s Steve Wood explained to the organizing committee in February. “Maybe it’s something where you want to get ready for the event of the year…or you can use it for smaller conference rooms when you have a small meeting, like if the city wants to borrow the space for an executive meeting or for the college to have a space there.
“This facility will be a hub not only for the community and a repository for historical artifacts for recipients,” Wallace said. “But it will also be a place where North Texas students can learn from these people’s stories and gain a better understanding of service and patriotism.”
Seven medalists will participate this year. They visited Gainesville Junior High and Gainesville High School on Thursday before the groundbreaking.
Gabrielle Fletcher English students and teachers at the college organized a Health Department display for this year’s events, which run through Saturday afternoon around Gainesville. The Ministry of Health’s Host City program celebrates its 21st year this week. It hosted 56 of the 67 living beneficiaries of the Ministry of Health, giving them the opportunity to share their stories and
stories of their fellow soldiers and beneficiaries who did not live to be able to tell their stories.
“This program is unlike any other program in that these recipients have truly become part of the ‘family,'” Wallace said. “This facility will not only serve as a museum, but also as a home for the Medal of Honor recipients themselves. My hope for the museum is to serve as a reminder to those who visit of service and sacrifice; that each time someone visits, they leave with a better understanding of these beneficiaries, their lives, their families and their commitment to freedom.
The Patriot Guard Riders rumbled onto the campus of North Central Texas College late Wednesday afternoon as part of the motorcade that brought Medal of Honor recipients to this year’s celebration.
MIKE EADS/[email protected]
TOP: Gainesville Mayor Tommy Moore and attendees of this year’s Medal of Honor Week turned the dirt for the new NCTC Museum early Thursday afternoon. BOTTOM: A US Marine Color Guard participated in Thursday’s opening ceremony at the NCTC.
ANNA BEALL/[email protected]