When Aviation Heritage Park broke ground on their ambitious dream for an 11,000 square foot museum in October 2018, a patriotic, but anonymous donor pledged $500,000 in matching funds to the project. A capital campaign began immediately to take advantage of the gift. Just last week, the donor presented AHP President Joe Tinius with a check for the entire pledged amount.
“We were overwhelmed,” said Tinius. “This incredible gift puts us past the halfway point in our fundraising efforts.”
Phase one of the project — environmental studies and site preparation— is complete. This major gift will allow completion of the final design phase and construction to begin soon. “That’s why the donor wanted to proceed with the gift… to encourage the community to join the momentum,” and to signal others to put their faith and their funds in this effort, to honor and remember veteran pilots from our region.
In response, a national, military-oriented organization, the Red River Valley Association (RRVA) has joined the effort. The RRVA was originally formed by combat pilots fighting in Vietnam, but has grown to include combat pilots from all theatres. To date, contributions from RRVA members have come from 26 different states, putting AHP on the national map. While AHP currently receives visitors from all over the United States, once the museum is built, nationwide name recognition will increase exponentially, adding greatly to Bowling Green’s robust tourist industry and local economy.
“During these uncertain times, we cannot help but feel eternally grateful for the support we receive,” said Tinius. “This boost will catapult our fundraising efforts and allow us complete this memorial to our military heroes. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
AHP and RRVA both have long histories of successfully providing educational opportunities for its youth and beyond. Both organizations are passionate about bringing awareness of the contributions and sacrifices our service men and women have made for this country. Many of the core values, characteristics, and purposes of these organizations are aligned, making the partnership ideal for both groups.
AHP is open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk. Admission is free, donations are greatly appreciated. For more information about AHP, please visit aviationheritagepark.com.