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Veterans Foundation going mobile

By Staff | Jan 13, 2012

The Cape Coral Invest in America Veterans Foundation is getting mobile. Literally.

A newly donated LeeTran bus will be converted into a mobile military museum, which will make the rounds across Southwest Florida to raise both awareness and funds for the non-profit group.

Veterans Foundation President Ralph Santillo said plans are already under way to convert the bus into a museum.

The foundation has been collecting memorabilia from various wars since its inception and the bus will represent a great opportunity to bring those pieces of American history to the public, Santillo said.

Santillo said the bus will visit local schools, retirement homes and, of course, veteran-themed events.

“We’re going to cover the spectrum,” Santillo said of the various pieces of memorabilia. “We’ve got enough stuff from every era.”

Founded Feb. 6, 2009, The Veterans Foundation was formed to serve and assist local veterans and their families through a variety of programs and outreach services.

One of its goals has to been to establish a full-time military museum, one that would act as equal parts attraction, office space and historical center.

The group has long eyed the former Sweetbay Supermarket building in downtown Cape Coral and has gone back and forth with Sweetbay’s corporate representatives attempting to work out the details of a sale or lease.

The foundation still hopes to one day make the museum a reality and Santillo said they are still in negotiations with Sweetbay. But, until then, the mobile museum will help to spread the word and raise monies to help make the museum a reality.

Plans for the bus call for ripping out the existing seating, building display cases and creating a “wrap” for the outside of the bus that would fit with the mobile military theme, according to Santillo.

“We want to work with someone to help us design the wrap and we’re hoping someone will step up to the plate,” Santillo added.

The Veterans Foundation is also looking for sponsors to help defray some of the cost of retrofitting the bus.

For more information, send a message to mobilemuseum@centurylink.net or contact the Veterans Foundation at 541-8704.