MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Organizations hoping to raise money for the Museum of the Marine hosted a gala celebrating some of America’s heroes at Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Oct. 6.
The formal event consisted of a silent auction, a dinner, a keynote speaker, a live auction, and an update on the museum’s progess.
Located in Jacksonville, the Museum of the Marine’s mission will be to tell the story of the unique contributions Marines made throughout their history in the Carolinas.
Distinguished guests included Dennis Cadigan, Ted Britton, Sgt. Maj. Raymond Mackay and Master Gunnery Sgt. James McEniry.
Cadigan was blinded while serving in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He later earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and worked in the field for 37 years.
Britton is one of the original Montford Point Marines, an ambassador to Barbados, and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient.
Mackay served in the Marine Corps for 29 years and lost his legs while in Afghanistan. He leads and inspires Marines who rehabilitate at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
McEniry is a reservist and a New York Police Department officer who was a first responder during the 9/11 attacks.
Dan Jansen was the featured keynote speaker at the dinner. Jansen was an Olympic speed skater, and he competed in three Games. He told guests in attendance about his uphill battle and struggles that eventually propelled him to win a gold medal in the final Olympic race of his career.
“My story is not about the victory at the end of the road,” said Jansen. “It’s about the journey. Improving your weakness in life will also improve your strengths.”
Jansen explained how he participated in the 500-meter and 1000-meter races, but he was much better at the 500. After some personal struggles with the death of his sister and professional disappointments, Jansen kept working in the off-season. He worked to improve his ability to race in the 1000-meter event, eventually winning gold.
“Jansen’s story is about overcoming struggles and getting to where he wants to be,” said retired Col. Bruce Gombar, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Museum of the Marine. “The museum parallels this journey in the sense that we were hoping for this for a long time now, and our hard work is going to pay off very soon.”
Gombar announced construction for the museum will start by the end of this year.