WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – A fundraiser to hold festivities for the Wings of Honor Museum’s 75th anniversary is hoped to go supersonic but its need big help in the final two weeks of fundraising.
Volunteers of the WWII Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum, now operating as the Wings of Honor Museum, hope to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Walnut Ridge Army Air Forces Basic Flying School with a tribute event hosted on the weekend of May 5 and 6.
As of Monday, March 20, the GoFundMe page had reached almost $10,000 – but Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce past-Chair Dina Rose said more is needed to do an airshow to feature planes like the one in the photo above.
“We’ve raised over $10,000, but not nearly enough to have an air show like we would like to have,” Rose said.
Rose said the cost to put on an air show varies depending on the aircraft and acts (how many aircraft, type of aircraft, type of performance, etc.), but, generally, it would take a good $25,000 to $35,000 to put on a small, but decent air show.
“There are some smaller planes with great acts that would only cost between $1,700-$5,000 each, but many of the warbirds we had hoped to bring in, especially the larger gunships and bombers, would cost much more,” Rose said. “We are in our final two weeks of fundraising, then we will have to figure out what we can do.”
The group has sights set on an air show featuring several warbirds from the historic era which has so much history present in Lawrence County.
Rose said there would be a special nature to a big event, since it hasn’t happened in so long. She said the last event of this nature was held in 2001 – 16 years ago.
“I think this would be something that would draw more attention and bring more veterans in,” Rose said. “And I certainly think they would feel honored. Besides, while all veterans need to be recognized and honored with every chance and in every way possible, we are running out of opportunity to honor and recognize our WWII vets. There are very few still around. I really want to push for getting as many WWII vets here as possible. And we just want to make it really special for them.”
The school was established in 1942 in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. A short video by T. Ward Media, below, shows the context of the creation of the airfield during World War 2.
Interested donors can contribute in several ways:
- The GoFundMe account;
- A donation directly to the museum at Wings of Honor Museum, 70 South Beacon Road, Walnut Ridge, AR, 72476;
- sponsorship of a warbird for an airshow (contact the museum or send an email for more information);
- and by spreading the word and sharing this story.
The Wings of Honor Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit group. All donations go to the museum to be used not only for a 75th Anniversary Celebration, but to help with operating costs of the museum, preservation and displaying of artifacts, educational programs that will continue to share and promote the history of the military and the airfield, and events and programs that honor all veterans, the fundraiser page says.
Read more about fundraising efforts and the anniversary from the Walnut Ridge Times Dispatch.
Photos from Wings of Honor Facebook page.
An earlier version said the last event of this type was held in 2002. Rose later contacted NEA Report to correct this to 2001. We regret the error.