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Veterans Museum construction begins

Volunteers for the St. Charles County Veterans Museum, set to open in April 2019, have begun collecting military artifacts from local veterans that may be used for displays at the museum.
[Emily Rothermich photos]

On Nov. 1, construction will begin on the new St. Charles County Veterans Museum, located at 410 E. Elm Street in O’Fallon.

This museum is the dream of World War II Veteran Ralph Barrale, who landed on Utah Beach in Normandy and fought at the Battle of the Bulge with General Patton.

Barrale passed away on Oct. 9 at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife, Rose; his daughter, JoAnn; and two sons, Ralph Jr. and Lari. 

Barrale discussed the museum in depth with Mid Rivers Newsmagazine reporter Brian Flichpaugh in an Aug. 8 article about the land acquisition and memorabilia donations.

Renee Essary, an executive board member for the museum, explained that the hope is for the museum “to open in April of 2019.”

“Our plans go well beyond the building,” Essary said. “Our design for the grounds include: Veterans Family Healing Gardens, The Grove – a shaded picnic area with a dry creek and Seabee Tribute bridge, Heroes Walk, Veterans Memorial Pavers and much more. We’re not only designing a museum to honor St. Charles County Veterans, we’re also creating a park-like setting that people from all around can enjoy.” 

Individuals and families who wish to donate to the effort can visit the museum’s website, stcharlescountyveteransmuseum.com, to learn more or can call executive board member Jim Higgins at (314) 623-7678.

“Right now, we’re out there looking for a little help to make Ralph’s dream a reality” Higgins said. “We are visiting home improvement stores, contractors, department stores, and other suppliers for building supplies and/or funds.

“We cannot do this without support from our community. This is a great opportunity to be at the forefront of this important community effort. So far, the response has been tremendous! We’re also looking for sponsors.”

The St. Charles County Veterans Museum is a 501[c][3] tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

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