New museum honors veterans and first responders

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(ABC 6 News) – The City of Rochester is showing their support for first responders with a new Veterans and Emergency Services Museum.

The museum highlights the history and importance of our first responders.

It opened up with a ribbon cutting ceremony and even though its tucked away in a small area at the Hilton hotel, it holds a lot of history.

“We’re trying to build a museum to honor those who have put their selves on the line for our country and our community,” executive director of the VESM Richard Krom said.

Veterans, law enforcement, and other first responders toured the museum honoring local heroes Thursday and they were inspired by what they saw.

“I feel that it’s my duty as a veteran to start to come alongside the older generation of veterans, to try and follow in their footsteps, and try to take over and continue the veteran legacy,” RPD officer and retired Air Force veteran James Kenison said.

Kenison, along with more than a hundred others walked through the exhibit.

On display were old police and firefighter uniforms, some dating back to the 1800s.

Each piece with a story behind it.

“We’re not just showing a lot of things we’re telling you the story behind them,” Krom said.

Krom said he was excited to unveil the museum to the community.

It’s a space he said has been needed for some time.

For the last three years, this museum has been tucked away in the Hilton hotel in downtown Rochester because of the pandemic.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton and Senator Carla Nelson also showed their support.

Krom said while this space honors first responders, he welcomes the public to come learn about an important part of the community.

“They’re real stories about real people and about their contributions.”

Right now, the Hilton is a temporary home for the museum.

Organizers are hoping the overflowing support from the community can help keep it going and eventually create a permanent space for the museum.

If you wish to learn more about the museum and how you can donate, click HERE for more information.