Art of Aging: Millville Army Air Field Museum

Thursday, June 29, 2017 12:44PM
Art of Aging: Millville Army Air Field Museum - Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at noon on June 29, 2017.

MILLVILLE, N.J. - The July 4th holiday is just a few days away and as we celebrate the nation's independence, we meet a World War II veteran and his longtime bride.

They've found their purpose in keeping the lessons from past conflicts alive.

The Millville Army Air Field was "America's First Defense Airport" - a training ground for U.S. pilots in World War II. It now houses the museum in which the stories and the heroes of that war are preserved and honored.

92-year-old Owen Garrison from Bridgeton, New Jersey is a Navy Vet who served on the USS Monterey in the Pacific.

"I was in the gunnery department," he recalled.

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Art of Aging: Treating ovarian cancer. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at noon on May 18, 2017.

For the past dozen years, he's been sharing his, at times painful, memories as a volunteer tour guide at the museum.

"I don't talk in front of people, but this place has been a godsend for me," he said.

The Museum is run almost entirely by volunteers, most of them veterans. And Owen volunteered, Florence, his wife of 63 years to the cause as well.

"We go everywhere together. So here we are here also," said Florence.

"I wish I could clone both Owen and Flo. Their commitment is just beyond belief," said Lisa Jester, Executive Director at the Millville Army Air Field Museum.

The Garrisons' enthusiasm is real and purposeful. They know things they don't want us to forget.

"Owen says at the end of his speech sometimes. 'Freedom, it isn't free. A lot of people paid for it, a lot of guys didn't come back.'," said Florence.

For decades, Owen never talked about the war - not even to his wife. But at the Millville Army Air Field Museum, he's found his calling.

"Coming here, it's been fantastic," he said. "They haven't been able to shut me up since."

Sharing his stories has helped heal the wounds of war.

"It was the best therapy, there was nothing else that could compare to this therapy for him," said Florence.

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