BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) Monday morning, the Raleigh County Veterans Museum on Harper Road took the first step in expansion, appointing its new board president, vice present, treasurer and six new board members.
Former county commissioner Ron Hedrick will now act as the museum’s board president and plans to immediately start raising funds to repair the old Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department building on Eisenhower Drive, which will house the Raleigh County Veterans Museum once renovated.
The current museum building is old and too small to house all of the museum’s artifacts, which span from the American Revolution to the modern-day. Because of a lack of space, the museum often has to switch out displays so that every artifact can be viewed by visitors.
The Sheriff’s Department is a much larger space that will allow the museum to not only display all of its artifacts but to even add new displays.
According to Hedrick, the remodeling will be completed in four phases. The first phase, which is estimated to cost $250,000, will focus on the condition of the building- heating, cooling, etc.
The remaining three phases will focus on adding new elements to the museum including dedications to police officers and first responders and even outside attractions.
“We are not losing anything from the current museum; we are adding new things that have never been seen before,” Hedrick said. “We will be offering more to the community.”
Hedrick anticipates the new museum, which he hopes will be open by spring of 2022, will become a hot spot for visitors looking for something to do due to the building’s access to the bypass, armory and various athletic fields.
Hedrick, an Army Veteran who retired as a Master Sergeant after 21 years of service, is excited to begin his new position and serve the Veterans Museum.
“…I want to be able to continue to serve the community and offer a state-of-the-art museum that will represent not just Veterans but other first responders and law enforcement officers in the community. I want to give the community a place where they can go and be proud of and learn the history. There’s this trend to forget, erase or change history, but we want to preserve it.”
Hedrick continued, stating that one of his goals for the museum is to diversify the board by appointing members with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
He began today by appointing City Councilwoman Sherrie Hunter and County Administrator Jay Quesenberry as museum board members.
“We are not done. We are going to add more as we get going. Today I get the keys to the building, and I am excited to see what we can do.”