ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – When you walk in the new St. Charles County Veterans Museum in O’Fallon, you’ll see a large collection of military artifacts, unique displays, paintings, pictures, and of course uniforms.
All supplied by veterans and their families.
“We start with the War of 1812 and go through our current Afghanistan and Persian Gulf wars,” said Renee Essayer, treasurer of the museum.
This was the idea of veteran Ralph Baralli, who passed away before getting to see the finished product. He thought this museum would be a great way to honor vets while showing off who they were and are. Some of Baralli’s personal effects are displayed, including a Nazi flag he liberated himself in Berlin Square.
“They were throwing it away or giving it to Goodwill and he thought, ‘How wonderful it would be to have a museum and display these artifacts and tell that story of that veteran,’” Essayer said.
Judith Club is showing off her deceased husband Jamie Club’s memories, including 500 letters he wrote her during his time serving in Vietnam. She said younger people should see the museum.
“They don’t realize that their grandfathers and great grandfathers and dads served for this country so that they could have all the nice things they have,” she said.
The museum took over an old city building and pays a dollar a year to lease the property. Most of the old building was torn down and rebuilt with the help of volunteers. The roof, ceiling, lighting, and floor materials were all donated by local businesses.
The museum will run on donations.
“We’re not only looking for artifact donations and veteran stories were also looking for monetary donations and also volunteers,” Essayer said.
To donate, visit www.stcharlescountyveteransmuseum.com.