Nugget donates $100,000 to WNC for war exhibit to travel to D.C. |

Nugget donates $100,000 to WNC for war exhibit to travel to D.C.

Sandi Hoover
Courtesy"Always Lost: A Meditation on War," debuted at the Western Nevada College galleries in 2009, offering a solemn look at the personal and collective costs of war and focusing on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The Carson Nugget will donate $100,000 to send a Western Nevada College photo and poetry exhibit about war to Washington, D.C.

“As part of its Community First initiative, the Nugget will donate $100,000 to fund the replication, remounting and packing of the images and literary works. In addition, the gift will establish a veterans scholarship fund,” said Anne Hansen, director of information and marketing services for WNC.

“What began as a Western Nevada College class project in 2009 has evolved into a powerful reflection on war that is making headlines around the country,” she said.

The exhibition, “Always Lost: A Meditation on War,” debuted at the Western Nevada College galleries in 2009, offering a solemn look at the personal and collective costs of war and focusing on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, Hansen said.

Nugget General Manager Star Anderson said Tuesday that the donation made perfect sense.

“There is more than one component to this. It involves veterans and education, so it was a good fit for us. My grandfather and son and uncle were Marines, so the military is dear to my heart,” she said.

“Community First is important to us because with the Nugget right here on Carson Street, we have a front-porch view. We’re aware of the economic problems and recognize that our community needs to be healthy so we can all be healthy,” Anderson said.

She said she was touched by the exhibit.

“This life-changing exhibit is an amazing example of what a small college in a small American town can create that will forever have a lasting impact,” Anderson said. “We are so proud of the professors, instructors and students at WNC, and are honored to be able to do our part in extending the reach of this exhibit (while) further enhancing the lives of student veterans who seek education at the college.”

The exhibit includes 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photos courtesy of The Dallas Morning News by photojournalists David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, who were embedded with Marine units in Iraq during 2003; literary works by WNC Professor Marilee Swirczek’s creative writing classes; veterans and their families; the Lone Mountain Writers Group; and other Northern Nevada writers.

Additional elements include meditations on war: Observations by philosophers, generals, veterans and writers about the nature of warfare; profiles of three WNC student veterans; the poetry of Spc. Noah Pierce, who committed suicide after serving two combat tours in Iraq; and the heart of the project, the Wall of the Dead — photos and names of more than 6,000 U.S. war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are continually being updated.

The exhibit has captured the attention of colleges, universities and veterans organizations and is currently scheduled at venues across the country through mid-2013, said Swirczek.

“We could not have imagined this project would touch so many people throughout the U.S. What started as a collaborative class project is becoming a collective national experience of contemplation about the costs of war to individuals, communities and nations,” she said.

The ongoing research and formatting of the wall has consumed hundreds of hours of meticulous work, she said.

“We don’t have a political point to make,” Swirczek added. “Most rewarding for us is the response from veterans – from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan – who thank us for honoring those who return from war, and those who do not.”

Propelling the project one step further are U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller, who announced their full support and commitment to bring the exhibit to Washington, D.C., including the Wall of the Dead.

“This incredible display offers a solemn reflection on war while honoring those who lost their lives,” Reid and Heller said in a joint letter to WNC President Carol Lucey. “We are immensely proud of the tireless efforts that have allowed this powerful exhibit to touch the lives of so many, and we offer our full support in bringing it to Washington, D.C., in the near future.”

WNC will commemorate the Nugget’s gift by naming its largest room on campus the Carson Nugget Community Hall.

Go to for more information on the “Always Lost” exhibit.