A Huntsville veterans museum is getting a big boost from the State of Texas. District 13 Republican Representative Lois Kolkhorst announced Wednesday that the Helping Every American Remember Through Serving or HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas will receive a $2 million state grant for the construction of a new museum.
"Today the State of Texas says thank you for the good work that the HEARTS Museum has done and will do in the future. The museum strives to honor and recognize the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and serves as a place of learning for our young people," Kolkhorst said. "A veterans museum for Texas now has a fitting and permanent home now in Huntsville."
The museum will share a location with a planned Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evacuation center in Walker County. The state money is contingent upon Walker County first receiving a FEMA grant for the evacuation center, which has been approved and is currently being organized by Walker County officials. Kolkhorst introduced the HEARTS Museum budget rider to HB 1, the General Appropriations Act, during the House Appropriations Committee hearings. She was able to reinforce the measure during the conference committee, as a conferee on the budget, with the help of District 5 Republican Senator Steve Ogden.
"Finding a permanent home for the HEARTS Museum has been a focus and passion for me since becoming the state representative for Walker County in 2003," said Kolkhorst. "Many have donated time and money to the museum. This money will help it become a reality. The veterans deserve this."
Land was originally secured for the new location by HB 2343, a bill authored and passed by Kolkhorst in 2003. The bill, sponsored by Senator Ogden, granted five acres of land from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to Walker County. Local veterans traveled to Austin to testify in favor of HB 2343 before the House State Affairs Committee in March, 2003.
Local veterans joined Kolkhorst Wednesday at the current location of the HEARTS Veterans Museum at West Hills Mall where the announcement was made.