Childhood friends were drafted into their country’s service, but only one of them made it home. Ron McVaney, Founder and CEO of the museum, and his wife, Barb, are dedicated to telling their story.
Mrs. McVaney is the Executive Director of the museum, and with her husband, the two have collected hundreds of pieces of memorabilia over the last thirty-five years.
“West Virginia has a long history of military service, from the civil war through modern conflicts, Vietnam, World War I, World War II,” said McVaney. “ Per capita, West Virginia has given more of their sons and daughters to military service than any other state.”
The museum was birthed out of a graveside promise from Mr. Vaney to his friends, in which he pledged, “I’ll never let anyone forget you guys.”
Upon his vow, McVaney committed himself to the memory of his compatriots, and over the last 35 years, he has kept that promise. Upon retirement, the spousal team Mrs. determined that the time had come to share their collection with the public.
“I love to have the opportunity to teach both kids and adults, especially because there’s a lot of folks that don’t know their history,” said McVaney. “
With the help of the Lewis County Board of Education and the Lewis County Commission, the Mountaineer Military Museum became a reality. The museum is open on Saturdays and offers tours and events by appointment.
The museum also offers a variety of wartime facts and figures from its website and a Quartermaster Store that features a number of carefully curated service jackets, uniforms, field jackets, and trench coats. They also carry collectibles and headgear like field gear, backpacks, duffel bags, service caps, and more.
Mrs. Mcvaney retired as a school teacher after serving 35 years in The Upshur County School System.
If you’d like to keep up with the McVaney’s and Mountaineer Military Museum, you can visit www.mountaineermilitarymuseum.com.
PWV QUICK BITS | BARB MCVANEY
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- PIECE OF ADVICE: “Be dedicated and passionate, and whatever your product is, don’t go into business for the money because money isn’t what it’s all about,” advised McVaney.