Museum Honors Women Veterans Through New Exhibit; Will Hold Special Event Recognizing Them
Walnut Ridge- On the evening of Thursday, September 12, the Wings of Honor Museum in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas will host a unique public event featuring special guests Ermalynn Wuestling, Jean Bradfield, and Renee Vandergriff, who will share eyewitness perspectives on events related to both World War II and the Korean War. The three women are joining the museum that evening as part of the formal launch for a new exhibit called, “Wonder Women: Living the Battle on All Fronts.” The exhibit will recognize the influence of women serving on both the home front and in the military during wartime. Additional guests will include female veterans from three military eras.
Ermalynn Wuestling, Jean Bradfield, and Renee Vandergriff, who will share eyewitness perspectives on events related to both World War II and the Korean War. The three women are joining the museum that evening as part of the formal launch for a new exhibit called, “Wonder Women: Living the Battle on All Fronts.” The exhibit will recognize the influence of women serving on both the home front and in the military during wartime. Additional guests will include female veterans from three military eras.
Ermalynn Wuestling and her family, all of whom were American citizens, with the exception of her father, spent the entirety of WW II living under the occupation of Nazi forces in Denmark. Wuestling’s father, a medical doctor, was a Danish citizen who met and married her mother in New York. Her family returned to Denmark, just prior to the German Army’s invasion of that nation in 1940 and they were firsthand participants in a world of scarce resources, air raids, and fear. After returning to the United States, Wuestling became an educator and remained in that field for 45 plus years.
Jean Bradfield lived in the United States during WW II. As a teenager living in Cape Gerardeau, Missouri, Bradfield participated in the national struggle to build for war and maintain normalcy on the home front while countless people went to serve their nation on the battlefields of Europe and Asia. Bradfield eventually became an educator for many years following her WW II experiences.
Renee Vandergriff, who served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War era, chose the path of law enforcement and public service upon her return from military service in 1955. A native of Oconee, Arkansas, in Randolph County, Vandergriff spent time working as a law enforcement officer in California and Arkansas, as well as an EMT and volunteer firefighter. Vandergriff has also spent years as a volunteer working to assist military veterans and their families.
A reception and ribbon cutting ceremony will begin the event at 5:30, followed by a historical presentation and a discussion panel at 6:30. All military veterans are invited, but especially those women who have served, or are currently serving, in the United States Armed Forces. The Wings of Honor Museum is located at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport. Admission for the September 12 event is free to the public, but the museum does ask that visitors consider a small donation to aid with operational costs.
Located at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport |70 Beacon Road |Walnut Ridge, AR (800) 584-5575
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.