Historic military collection to be shown in Westbury veterans' museum on Veterans Day
Pamala Scheff searched across Nassau County for a place to donate artifacts from her family's days in the military.
Once she found the Westbury Military Historical Collection, she knew it was the right place.
A picture of her late father, Frederick Scheff, and his World War II Bronze Star Award certificate, awarded to him in 1952 for "meritorious achievement in ground operations" during his time with the U.S. Army, will be a new exhibit at the historical collection’s open house on Veterans Day.
Her late grandmother, Pauline Scheff, will also have her VFW Ladies Auxiliary cap displayed along with a "Son in Service" pin.
Scheff, 72, who was raised in Albertson, said she’s happy she found a place for her family’s legacy to be on display.
"The picture, the certificate and the hat have a resting place," Scheff, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, said. "People will see and hopefully appreciate it."
Scheff found the items while cleaning her mother’s apartment, shortly after her death in August 2020. Like many others who donate to the village’s museum, Scheff wanted to preserve the artifacts.
"Now they're back on Long Island, in New York, where they started," Scheff said.
Thomas Bennett, 67, of Westbury, was cleaning his uncle’s basement when he stumbled on a World War I U.S. Army uniform that belonged to his great uncle and former Westbury resident Cpl. George Anthony Hesse Jr.
Though the uniform was donated more than a year and half ago, it will be a new exhibit at the open house on Thursday. Bennett said he didn’t realize his great uncle served in World War I, but noted that his family has deep roots in the community and he wanted to preserve the uniform.
"I feel good that it was put to good use and not discarded. It found a home," Bennett said.
In 2014, the building that housed the Cpl. James F. Walsh VFW Post 945 was donated to Westbury Village and turned into a veteran’s museum, which had a grand opening last year. Village officials said they worked for years to collect military items and felt last year was a perfect time to open the museum.
Mayor Peter Cavallaro said the building has a lot of cultural value to the community and can serve as a learning tool for the younger generation.
"I think it’s a good way to teach younger kids that there’s a price for freedom and that people in our community went and fought," Cavallaro said. He wanted to highlight the World War II wall with 1,362 names, including some names that are listed next to a gold star, signifying a person who died in combat.
"The intent was to preserve the memories of those people who fought and served in our armed forces," Cavallaro said.
The open house will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday.