The National World War I Museum - Kansas City, MO
A special Visions of Valor exhibit preview commenced the National World War I Museum's Veterans Day activities in Kansas City, Missouri. Five Medal of Honor recipients, including three who live in Greater Kansas City, joined TriWest for a special ceremony in the Museum's JC Nichols Auditorium on November 6, 2007.
— B. L. McCall
Actor and philanthropist Jerry Fogel served as the event's Master of Ceremonies, welcoming the crowd of military and business leaders, youth groups and members of the community.
Tom Bowser, former President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City spoke about TriWest's involvement with Visions of Valor and other Medal of Honor programs, and mentioned that the Kansas City community would greatly enjoy the exhibit during its two-month stay at the museum.
Colonel Timothy Weathersbee, Garrison Commander, spoke on behalf of Fort Leavenworth and thanked the attending Medal of Honor recipients for their sacrifices, and for setting an example for all Service members to aspire.
Next, Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Bob Howard, US Army (Ret), newly-elected President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, provided a brief history of Medal recipients from WWI (124), and the importance of paying tribute to the few living veterans from the War to End All Wars. Howard, whose grandfather was a WWI vet, served five tours in Vietnam and was nominated for the Medal of Honor for three separate occasions.
Colonel Roger Donlon, US Army (Ret), who received the first Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam, then addressed the crowd, expressing thanks to the Museum for hosting the exhibit and helping bring these portraits and stories to the people of Kansas City. Donlon was joined by Colonel Don Ballard, US Army (Ret) and Charles Hagemeister; all are Medal recipients from the Vietnam conflict and all reside in the Kansas City area.
George Sakato, a member of the Army's legendary 442nd E Company in WWII, was another special guest. Sakato received his Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton in 2000, more than 55 years after his action near Biffontaine, France. Sakato, along with Donlon, performed the coin toss at the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers game on November 4.
TriWest President and CEO, Dave McIntyre ended the ceremony by expressing gratitude and admiration to the day's special guests, and all those who serve, or have served, our nation.
In addition to the portrait display, TriWest sponsored the World War I Museum for Veterans Day, allowing free admission to all. That day, the Museum recorded its highest attendance since its grand opening. Visions of Valor remained in Kansas City through January 6, 2008.