By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
The Yukon Veterans Museum at an upcoming banquet will celebrate its sixth year honoring the brave men and women who have served their country.
The annual Yukon Veterans Museum Gala will be Thursday, Sept. 5 inside the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Dinner will be catered by Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant. Other highlights will be a silent auction, live music and guest speaker.
“Attending and supporting our gala will allow people to give back to our veterans and military who have given so much to our country,” said Rick Cacini, president and curator of the Yukon Veterans Museum.
“Our veterans who attend will be able to spend time with their friends and comrades-in-arm.”
The Sept. 5 gala audience will hear from Major General Michael C. Thompson, who has been Oklahoma’s adjutant general since November 2017. In his official function, Thompson serves as the top military advisor to the governor and commands the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard.
“Major General Thompson is a great leader,” Cacini said. “He’s an intelligent man and a very good officer.”
While in the Oklahoma National Guard, Cacini and Thompson worked together on special projects to train troops for deployment overseas.
Thompson joined the Oklahoma National Guard in 1983 and commanded at the company, battalion and brigade levels. He was deployed in 2003 and 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Brigadier General (Ret.) Steve Elliott, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, was originally scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Sept. 5 Yukon Veterans Museum Gala.
“But a more serious commitment has come up that Brigadier General Elliott must attend that day,” Cacini said. “Fortunately, Major General Thompson volunteered to be our speaker. He came through; he’s a great friend.”
Before being appointed as adjutant general, Thompson had a distinguished 28-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. He started in 1990 as a state trooper and concluded his civilian career as DPS commissioner from 2011-2017.
Thompson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the United States Secret Service Executive Seminar, and the United States War College.
The Sept. 5 Yukon Veterans Museum Gala will honor U.S. military veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces.
Yukon-area residents and service members alike are encouraged to attend to support the work of the Yukon Veterans Museum.
Sponsors are needed. Sponsorship levels are red ($500), white ($300) and blue ($100).
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12.
For more information, call Cacini at 517-1901 or Jerry Icenhower at 514-6794.
SHARING HISTORY OF SACRIFICE
The Yukon Veterans Museum was established in 2013 to share the history of the sacrifices U.S. veterans “made for our freedoms,” Cacini said.
Since September 2016, the Yukon Veterans Museum has occupied space inside the American Legion Building at 1010 W. Main.
Displays feature everything from uniforms, helmets, weapons, battlefield gear, flags, historic photographs, newspaper clippings, and military documents.
Artifacts and memorabilia have been donated by individuals, families and veterans of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.
The museum’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Appointments are available outside those hours.
The museum hosts a service day for Veterans Administration benefits from 9 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month.
To schedule a tour, call 517-1901 or 501-3404.