Assemblyman PK O’Neill partners with Western Nevada College Foundation to raise funds for Always Lost Exhibit | NevadaAppeal.com

Assemblyman PK O’Neill partners with Western Nevada College Foundation to raise funds for Always Lost Exhibit

Courtesy PK O’Neill

Katie Leao, Western Nevada College Foundation executive director; Assemblyman PK O’Neill; Kevin Burns, Veterans Resource Center director; and Sean Davison, Western Nevada College Foundation chairman stand in front of the Always Lost exhibit at the Legislative Building on April 16.

Carson City Assemblyman PK O'Neill, R-District 40, has partnered with Western Nevada College Foundation in an effort to raise funds to continue the "Always Lost: A Meditation on War" exhibit's national tour and ongoing maintenance.

Created in 2008 by Western Nevada College faculty and students as a class project to memorialize the costs of war, the exhibit most notably includes the Wall of the Dead comprised of photos and names of the U.S. service members that have fallen during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since Sept. 11, 2001. Also featured are Pulitzer Prize-winning photos from the Iraq war shot by combat photographers David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, poetry and prose reflecting on the war by WNC Professor Marilee Swirczek's creative writing class, veterans, their families and other Nevada Writers, as well as photos from The Dallas Morning News.

Currently on display at the Legislative Building until April 22, the exhibit has two travelling copies that are updated on a regular basis to ensure all casualties of war are included and honored. When Always Lost started, there were 4,000 soldiers featured on the Wall of the Dead. Today, there are nearly 7,000. The exhibit has been displayed at several colleges and venues across the nation, including Washington, D.C., and is scheduled to be displayed at 15 additional venues, including San Antonio and Kalamazoo, through mid-2016.

"When viewing the exhibit last week, I noticed the project was in need of funding for updates, maintenance, and to continue its national tour," said Assemblyman PK O'Neill. "That sparked the conversation of partnering with WNC Foundation to raise funds."

Annual maintenance and shipping for the exhibit costs approximately $20,000 a year, which includes research, graphic design and printing of new panels for the ever growing Wall of the Dead, managing the touring schedules for both traveling copies, and the shipping in foam lined cartons to and from display venues.

"The Always Lost exhibit allows us to connect with the 7,000 soldiers lost in the past 14 years of war. I feel strongly that we must keep it on the move," stated Assemblyman PK O'Neill. "I hope to raise enough to sustain the exhibit for six months. I am donating $250 towards the exhibit, and I am challenging Carson City's community leaders and residents to make a donation. We owe it to the men and women that gave their all, to their families, and to all veterans."

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Mayor Bob Crowell is also proud to support the Always Lost exhibit and is the first to step up to Assemblyman O'Neill's donation challenge.

"This exhibit, born out of the caldron of free expression at Western Nevada College, has capture the hearts and minds of people throughout our nation by its ability to not only personalize the cost of war in human terms, but to also provide a solemn space where each of us in our own individual way may pay tribute to those we sent in harm's way but who never came home. As a Veteran, I am honored to continue supporting this tribute to our vets."

Donations for Always Lost are tax deductible and can be made online by visiting http://www.wnc.edu/foundation/, or mailed to WNC Foundation, 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703. To set up a monthly donation, call (775) 445-3240. For more information on the Always Lost exhibit, visit http://www.wnc.edu/always_lost.

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