“Our doors are open for you.”
It was a message delivered by Mummers to local veterans during an eventful day at the Mummers Museum on Sunday.
The museum unveiled a new Veterans Wall and a Table of Honor and Remembrance for prisoners of war and those missing in action in its main concourse for those who proudly served the country in the military. Running hand-in-hand with the ceremony was the seventh annual McIntyre/Casper Mummers For Veterans Food Drive, which accepted food donations for the Veterans Multi-Service Center. The organization provides comprehensive services to veterans and their families.
“The important thing is that we are here today as a community, helping veterans,” said Scott Brown, executive director of the Mummers Museum. “But more importantly, this day, we want to go on for the rest of the year at the museum by acknowledging our veterans with a wall and a POW remembrance.”
The wall will honor Mummers who served in the military, as guests can donate in honor of themselves or a loved one with a gold plaque on the museum’s new yellow wall. The project quickly came together over the summer and was ready in just a few months due to some quick work by organizers.
Along the veterans wall, jutting out from the corner, is a fully set table with chairs in honor of those missing in action. A mannequin in camouflage fatigues with sequins stands watching over the table. The new addition highlights all veterans’ presence with the Mummers’ long tradition of starting each new year in extravagant fashion.
The dedication of the wall hit close to home for many Mummers in attendance.
“My dad died of Agent Orange,” said Scott McIntyre of Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars Fancy Brigade as he spoke fondly of Mummers legend Franny McIntyre. “It hits pretty close to the vest when we talk about his service to the country. He was a proud American, a proud patriot.”
Mummers for Veterans, which was started by Mummer Bill Mulligan, began seven years ago and the drive took on Franny McIntyre’s name after he passed in 2019. Another Mummers legend, Franny Casper of Saturnalian, was added to the name of the event two years ago after Casper passed.
“It’s a pretty special thing that all of our Mummers come together as one,” McIntyre said. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and we continue to grow. It’s a pretty awesome thing watching people pull up in their cars and give us anything from canned goods to a toothbrush or gloves or hats. Anything our veterans need.”
The ceremony kicked off with a performance by the Fralinger String Band inside the museum. Meanwhile, volunteers hustled, handling the donations.
Large collections of food items were transferred by volunteers from flatbed trucks into a large box truck to be delivered to the Veterans Multi-Service Center, which is located near 4th and Vine streets.
“When I served as the Director of Veterans for the city, the Multi-Service Center was probably the No. 1 organization that helped veterans 24-7,” Brown said. “And that was vitally important when we were out on the streets seeing how many homeless veterans there were that needed clothing, shelter, food, etc. The Mummers community coming together today to help our fellow veterans means a lot.”