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A former local lawmaker is helping to restore the community’s past and his own.
Mike Weaver, a retired U.S. Army colonel who served in the state House of Representatives, recently met in Frankfort with Ken Lucas, state commissioner of Veterans Affairs, and the Veterans Trust Fund Board. He informed them about an ongoing project to restore the last remaining World War II barracks at Fort Knox.
The barracks, which was in use into the 1990s, is being restored on the grounds of the General George Patton Museum of Leadership. It will be used to demonstrate what life would have been like for soldiers at the time.
Weaver also has a personal connection with the barracks because he stayed in nearly identical buildings built for the same purpose at Fort Knox and in Georgia and Kansas when he served.
“I have a big connection to this old building, as many, many soldiers in the area do,” he said.
Weaver said the building is part of American history and something he can show his grandchildren when he talks about his own time in the military.
“History is so important to people going forward,” he said.
Weaver asked Lucas and the trust fund board for $25,000 for the project and the request was approved unanimously. He received a check Thursday.
While serving in the legislature, Weaver introduced a bill promoting the sale of veterans license plates, from which $25 of each sale would go to the Veterans Trust Fund. The fund had money to present to Weaver’s project because of Weaver’s legislative accomplishment.
The restoration, which is estimated by a contractor to cost $500,000, is being done using volunteer labor and donations.
The Patton Museum Foundation and the commander of Fort Knox at the time agreed the museum would raise money and recruit labor to complete the project if the post would move the barracks to the museum’s campus.
By early this month, the project had been given more than $60,000 in cash and pledges from area businesses, organizations and individuals.
Weaver has worked since May with the museum to restore the barracks with the help of volunteer labor from Hardin County Detention Center and cadets from Bluegrass Challenge Academy.
He thinks he can complete the project for about $100,000 by saving labor costs.
He said he’s confident he’ll raise the remaining $15,000 early next year and complete the project by June 14, the Army’s 238th birthday.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.