National Mounted Warfare Foundation hosts networking event
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce shifted its sights farther west last Tuesday morning when it hosted Coffee Connection at the National Mounted Warfare Foundation’s headquarters in Copperas Cove.
The event was designated for networking, but prior to the exchanging of business cards and discussions, NMWF reps gave an update on the museum’s progress, to include both funding and design.
Clarence Enochs, who spoke for the NMWF, explained that the museum’s foundation is continuing its fundraising efforts with the hopes of breaking ground on the museum in 2019.
“I don’t have anything tangible to show you yet. That’s why it’s important that I focus on the things that are important. It’s not necessarily about the building, it’s about the heart of our country, about the men and women that have lived and died, and sacrificed, so that you’re here right now, so we can do that,” said Enochs.
He touted the future economic benefits that having a museum like the National Mounted Warfare Museum will bring to the Central Texas area.
“Realistically, what is there in central Texas other than you and I, for people to come experience here? With Fort Hood, they have to go check in,” Enochs said.
It is estimated that in the first year, as many as 265,000 people will come visit the museum, with as many as 199,000 coming from outside the immediate area, he said.
“If you’re in the hotel-motel industry, between Copperas Cove and Temple, on our best day, we have about 1,100 open hotel rooms.”
The economic estimate in the first year will be about $5 million, he added.
Enochs said one way individuals can recognize family members and friends who served in the military is by the purchase of commemorative bricks, with a 4- by 8-inch brick for $100 and an 8- by 8-inch brick for $200.
As part of the presentation, Enochs described the museum’s entryway and exhibits, and said his favorite part of the design is the floor in the main hall.
“There’s a map of the world on the floor, in terrazzo tile with QR codes imbedded, wherever one has served,” Enochs said. “if you hover over that, a QR code will go into your phone and you will get a narration of what occurred there on that place on the map.”
He said the museum will be an interactive, immersive experience.
“We want you to be able to pick things up, turn it around, see how it works.” In addition to the interactive displays, there will be simulations for visitors to experience.
The museum will also provide meeting space, which the 300 or so Fort Hood command staff will be able to use.
Enochs said Cloud Construction is the museum’s construction manager at risk and will manage the contractors and subcontractors.
“We want it to be as local and veteran and Texas-built as possible.”
On hand for the presentation was Ret. Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, who has followed the project and is on the NMWF board.
“This is about our community, the soldiers, the family members, the businesses, folks who have lived and worked here all their lives, or those who just came last week. We’d just like everybody to be part of it,” Funk said. “If we can raise this money, we can start building next May. We need $2.4 million. As he said, we started needing about $38 million. People don’t recognize, giving $5 or $10, that it will add to it. People sometimes are embarrassed – ‘oh, it’s only $5, or $10.’ We just want participation. We’d love to have every member of the community in on this.”
The foundation is preparing for the fifth annual Homecoming For Heroes Gala in spring 2019.
Fort Hood has donated 68 acres for the museum, which has been designed by Huckabee. Once constructed, the National Mounted Warfare Museum will be a multi-sensory, multi-media experiential museum honoring the US Army’s mounted warriors and Fort Hood and will be an educational destination for students, along with millions of veterans and their families who passed through Fort Hood. For more information about the MWF, go to www.nmwfoundation.org.