In response to the column by Spencer Priest (“Park board seeks mediation with Cavalla Historical Foundation,” The Daily News, Feb. 22): Our nonprofit, Edsall Class Veterans Association, has operated two work weeks a year at the Galveston Naval Museum for the past nine years.
In that time, volunteers from all over the nation have come together to restore and maintain the USS Stewart DE-238.
Some of those volunteers have served in Edsall Class destroyer escorts, of which Stewart is one. Stewart is typical of World War II ships that many of us (four out of the five ships I served in over 21 years of active duty) served in and maintained. Thousands of hours of labor and thousands of dollars have been donated in that effort. The volunteers have taken the rusting hulk and restored it to the historical attraction that it is now. There is no doubt that there is much more to do to assure the long-term existence of this historical gem, and our volunteers stand ready to do what is required.
Like the submarine volunteers before us, who restored the USS Cavalla SS-244, our efforts have resulted in a historical World War II destination of great importance.
Now comes Priest’s assertions that Galveston’s Park Board of Trustees would pay the full cost of asbestos remediation (false); and that the park board is interested in a 50/50 partnership (false). Proposals the park board have offered the foundation that manages the Galveston Naval Museum have made it clear the board wishes to control the foundation. In fact they’ve suggested that they furnish an executive director of their own to manage the museum.
So, the park board has blocked the entry of the company hired to remediate the vessels in the museum so they cannot start their work and has decided to charge the volunteers, who come from all over to help maintain and restore the vessels, parking fees. Those actions don’t seem like cooperation.
While the foundation, association and all volunteers that donate their time and treasure to the vessels and artifacts in the museum do so with the motive of preserving the history of the ships and brave sailors who manned them, the park board seems to care only about the dollars they can extract from it.
This all doesn’t sound at all like cooperation on the part of the park board. This sounds like the moral corruption of one entity to control another.