FAIRBORN — Astronaut Greg Johnson will visit his hometown to host a local presentation and sign autographs as part of a fundraiser for the Fairborn Military Veterans Memorial Committee.
The event is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21 at Fairborn High School, 900 E. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road.
“[There will be] a chance to meet an astronaut and get an autograph for you, your family or friend, as well as a silent auction of some exciting items,” Committee Co-Chair JoAnn Collins said in an email.
The Fairborn Military Veterans Committee is aiming to erect a permanent memorial that honors local veterans in the front lawn of the Fairborn Senior Apartments, 221 N. Central Ave. Committee Co-Chairs Dan Kirkpatrick and Collins have said in previous interviews that they realize that Fairborn is currently the home of a military memorial in the center of Central Avenue and Main Street, but it does not allow individuals to walk up and pay their respects unless the streets are closed for events.
The goal of the memorial is to give individuals the opportunity to walk-up, spend time there and honor local veterans.
Cost to attend the July 21 event is $10 for adults, $5 for college students and free for those 5 years old and under. The event will additionally bring a number of veteran-friendly organizations to one place, a silent auction, treats from Fairborn’s own Jubie’s Ice Cream and more.
According to Collins, the Miami Valley Military History Museum donated a few items to be auctioned during the event, including a signed poster of the B-19 Enola Gay which is the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb in WWII and is signed by four of the original crew members, including Pilot Paul Tibbets. Items also include two other WWII aircraft prints signed by pilots, as well as the heat shield tile from the Space Shuttle Challenger from an earlier trip into space.
“Hopefully, all of these items will auction for high prices,” Collins wrote in reference to the event being a fundraiser for the committee.
She added that she spoke with Johnson earlier this week and shared that he is excited about his Fairborn presentation. Collins said Johnson had a series of events to attend over the next few days at the Neil Armstrong Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
“He will drive down from Wapakoneta the morning of July 21 and then will be heading back up there for additional activities at the Armstrong Museum,” Collins wrote.
A number of military-friendly groups will be available during the event, including the VFW of Fairborn and Enon, Military Order of Purple Hearts, AmVets, Honor Flight Dayton, Wright State University Veterans Voices Project, Fairborn Area Historical Society, Fairborn Senior Center, Operation Fairborn Cares and American Veterans Heritage Center.
“Lots of information [will be available] for everyone from groups and organizations all over in one place,” Collins wrote. “Bring the family, kids and friends as it will be a great time for all.”
The Military Veterans Memorial Committee is also hosting an ongoing fundraiser that involves purchasing bricks with personalized messages to be installed in the memorial. To find out more information and to order a brick, visit https://bit.ly/2LnOPBk.
For additional information about the July 21 event, call 937-879-4709 or visit https://www.fairbornvetsmemorial.com/.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.