Vets help vets in Brevard
Donn Weaver, Brevard Veterans Council chairman, stands at the monument honoring those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. The picture on the front was designed by his wife, Jeanne.
Photo by Rachel Wick
Independence Day serves as a reminder to honor those individuals who have fallen while serving our country. The Veterans Memorial Center and the Brevard County Veterans Council on Merritt Island work to honor the memories of fallen veterans, and to assist and inform those in the community.
The center stands on five acres at 400 South Sykes Creek Parkway on Merritt Island and includes a museum, an auditorium, a multi-media library and a memorial plaza. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.
The museum displays important artifacts from each of the wars that the United States fought in, dating back to the Revolutionary War. Displays showcase items including military uniforms, medals, photos and guns, among other memorabilia, and are intended to educate the public on specific events during those time periods. Donated and loaned items supply the artifacts that are displayed in the museum.
The multi-media library serves as a wealth of resources that chronicle the history of the United States and includes books and videos on all U.S. military involvements.
The goals of the Brevard Veterans Council are to honor all people who served in the United States military in both war and peace, and to educate all citizens about U.S. military history. Some of the major objectives tackled by the BVC are to support quality benefits for veterans, push for better healthcare for Brevard veterans and to support a veterans cemetery that would provide an honorable final resting place for veterans who die without relatives or the necessary burial funds.
“The concept of veterans councils is a big one in Florida, but not every county has one,” council chairman Donn Weaver said. “Brevard’s veterans council began in the early ’80s. There was this World War II and Korean War generation that were just retiring, so they got together and decided, we need to do something for these Vietnam War veterans.”
Weaver is a veteran and first became involved with the council after he lost his son, Army 1st Lt. Todd William Weaver, during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. Weaver’s wife, Jeanne, designed the image that is on the surface of the memorial for the veterans who died during this time of war, including her son.
That monument resides in Veterans Memorial Park, located in front of the memorial center, and it includes a plaza consisting of static displays of helicopters, tanks and many monuments memorializing each of the wars. Bricks are available for purchase for each of the monuments to honor loved ones who died in that specific war.
“The monuments are dedicated to all who served, the names on the monuments are those who fell,” Weaver said.