Veteran searches for permanent home for military museum

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  • | 2:00 p.m. January 27, 2014
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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The artifacts currently housed in the museum are on display at City Hall.


Attics and basements across the country are collection points for the uniforms, medals, badges and equipment that men and women carried in battle from World War I to the recent wars in the Middle East.

John Brinkley, of Ormond Beach, is on a mission to find a place in the city to display these items in honor of those who served.

“We want to call attention to what veterans did for our country,” Brinkley said. “We have Veteran’s day and Armed Forces Day, but what about the rest of the year? They served all over the world, and many did not come back.”

Brinkley, 85, a veteran of World War II and Korea, currently has a display in the foyer of Ormond Beach City Hall called the Veterans Museum and Education Center.

“The mayor and the city manager were very helpful in finding space,” Brinkley said.

But now he needs a larger, more permanent home for the artifacts collected from local families. The search, however, has been a challenge. Neither the Halifax Historical Museum on Beach Street in Daytona Beach nor the Ormond Memorial Art Museum have room for his display.

He said a minimum space would be 500 square feet, and he has built a diorama showing how he would display the artifacts.

The effort was started by Brinkley and a group of friends in 2012, and they have now incorporated into a nonprofit called Veteran Museum and Education Center Inc.

Memberships are sold to raise money. An individual can join for $25, a family for $30 and corporate membership costs $250. He said there are currently 20 members.

An Ormond Beach businessman, Dr. Kent Miller, was the first, and so far the only, corporate sponsor. He also made a personal donation.

“It all has to do with education for the young people,” Miller said. “They don’t teach much military history in schools.”

And said since so many don’t know military history, he added, “the vets just talk among themselves.”

If space is donated, there will be no shortage of items. Brinkley said a retired colonel in Washington, D.C. has promised to turn over his entire collection of memorabilia if they get a permanent place.

The most striking part of the collection at City Hall is the four mannequins wearing uniforms donated by local families. They all have the actual medals and badges.

“Those are hard to come by,” Brinkley said.

Brinkley said he has a group of former military men who serve as advisers for the collection, as well.

“We have a three-star general, Army colonel, Navy captain and a sergeant who served in Iraq,” he said.

Brinkley has received some help. Carter’s Cabinetry, of Ormond Beach, built the large display case that holds three mannequins. Ormond Beach Elks Lodge 2193 gave $600. Eagle Glass Aluminum and Mirror donated glass and labor for the smaller cabinet. And Sue Lutes, a veteran’s widow, donated $250.

Call John Brinkley at 677-7416.


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