During Oak Grove High School’s 24th annual Veterans Breakfast held Wednesday, a Camp Shelby official told local veterans about possibly moving the overcrowded Mississippi Armed Forces Museum and establishing a veterans cemetery to a new area in Forrest County.
Col. Mark Prine, Special Project Officer for the Commander, told more than 100 veterans and guests about the services and facilities at Camp Shelby during the breakfast held at Movie Star Restaurant.
Prine said the current museum doesn’t have the room to show off all the military articles that are now in storage.
“Our biggest challenge right now is going to be that we have an awful lot of stuff that we can’t display,” he said. “We are beginning to look at the next generation of the museum and what it’s going to look like.”
Prine said plans are being discussed for moving the museum.
“One of the projects we have going on involves about 200 acres just outside the North Gate of Camp Shelby owned by the State of Mississippi,” he said. “We are working now with the state Veterans Department seeing if we can get on the list of that next Veterans Cemetery being adjacent to Camp Shelby at that North Gate. We hope to move the museum to that area when that time comes.”
Prine challenged the veterans attending the breakfast to become involved with the Armed Forces Museum.
“Please come and visit the museum,” he said. “Counting the number of folks who come through helps us with state funding. It also helps us (tell) your story. The museum will be partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi in the next few months to be able to collect stories of service members from Desert Shield and Desert Storm coming forward to current conflicts. So, plan on doing that (visiting).”
Volunteering would also help the museum and its visitors, Prine said.
“I can’t tell you what kind of impression it makes having young students come through the museum and have someone sitting there sharing their personal experiences,” he said.
Abigayle Talbot, an OGHS senior in the Beta Club, welcomed the veterans and guests to the breakfast. Eagle Scout Michael Reno led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Leighton Jenkins of the Oak Grove High School Student Council gave the invocation.
The OGHS a capella group, SPECTRA, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” and an armed forces tribute during the breakfast. Student Council representative Sarah Nguyen introduced Prine.
Military honors, including the posting of the American flag, were handled by VFW Post No. 3036 Honor Guard. Oak Grove High School Principal Helen Price gave closing remarks.
Coordinating the breakfast for Oak Grove High School were history teachers Katie Folkes and Jerri Whitecotton. Sponsors for the breakfast were Reinhart Merchants, Movie Star, Coca-Cola, Hill and Brooks Coffee, Country Girl Creamery, Mississippi Music, and the Lamar County Board of Supervisors.