Cooper: Heritage Center hits first goal

Cooper: Heritage Center hits first goal

January 13th, 2018 by Clint Cooper in Opinion Free Press

Area veterans and their supporters gave more than $600,000 over the past six months to bring the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center a little closer to reality.

Their donations, it was announced Friday, helped the campaign raise $1.25 million of the $6 million its leaders are seeking to house the center in the former Chattanooga Visitors Center building on Aquarium Plaza in the heart of the downtown tourist district.

Building owner River City Co. had prudently insisted the Heritage Center campaign raise $1 million before the end of 2017 and a cumulative $3 million by the end of 2018.

(The same valued site previously was going to be the home of the Chattanooga History Center, which raised millions of dollars in support but never opened. The Medal of Honor Heritage Center is not related to the former history center.)

Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Raines, chairman of the Heritage Center, said in August the campaign hoped to raise $500,000 of the 2017 goal from local veterans. But he said in a news release yesterday the goal had been met and exceeded.

"I am proud to say our veterans and their families never hesitated to 'answer the call' of this challenge," he said. "In fact, the veteran community has contributed more than $600,000 so far, with hopes of surpassing the $1 million threshold by the end of 2018."

Such a worthy endeavor, which will honor the 32 Medal of Honor recipients with ties to Tennessee (like center namesake Charles Coolidge, Desmond Doss, Alvin York, Whitwell's Ray Duke, Cleveland's Paul Huff, Mary Walker, the only female recipient, and the Andrews Raiders), deserves support not only from veterans but from an entire community that reveres its veterans and is appreciative of the freedoms they have defended so courageously.

One member of the community, Greg Vital, chief executive officer of Morning Pointe Senior Living and Independent Healthcare Properties, showed that type of support during the initial phase of the campaign, donating $250,000 in agreeing to match the gift of the campaign's first lead donor and to encourage others to back the project.

If the cumulative $3 million goal is met by the end of this year, Heritage Center officials say they can begin construction on their 19,000-square-foot space in early 2019 and complete work by early 2020.

The finished space is expected to offer state-of-the-art exhibits that immerse the visitor into sights and sounds of the narrative of each recipient and incorporate the character traits of citizenship, commitment, courage, integrity, patriotism and sacrifice that each recipient shares in order to influence others to reach those ideals.

It's been a whirlwind but successful start for the project but one that holds the promise of being an inspirational part of all that Chattanooga has to offer.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com