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Military museum gathers donations, plans Thayer honor

KISS guitarist helps raise money for facility in Clackamas
by: sUBMitted photo, Lead KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, son of retired Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer (second from left), helps get the Clackamas military museum of the ground with his brothers.

The two-year capital campaign to renovate the Oregon Military Museum in Clackamas began with an All Star Salute at the Oregon Golf Club, raising $350,000 of a $6.5 million goal.

The event featured celebrities such as Oregon golfer Peter Jacobsen, broadcaster Bill Schonely and lead KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, son of retired Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer of Lake Oswego.

The museum will honor retired Gen. Thayer, who is the recipient of the Silver Star and Bronze Star and World War II veteran.

Thayer, an Oregon native, helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The museum, which will be named in honor of Thayer, will commemorate the military service and sacrifice of all Oregonians who have served in the nation's armed forces.

'This is what we need in this state, something to be proud of and the Oregon Military Museum is it,' said James Thayer.

On June 14, Thayer will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oregon National Guard executive briefing hosted by Gov. John Kitzhaber. The event is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland.

Guests scheduled to attend include Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Kitzhaber and former governors Ted Kulongoski and Vic Atiyeh.

The Oregon Military Museum will be the centerpiece of the new Historical Area Development Plan at Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, home of the Oregon National Guard's 41 Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center.

Funds raised will be used for facilities upgrades, including proper museum lighting, fire safety, environmental controls and security system improvements. Exhibits include a vault which showcases one of the largest weapons collections west of the Mississippi.

For more information on the Oregon Military Museum Capital Campaign, visit historicaloutreach.com.