The Brevard Veterans Council (BVC) and the Veterans Memorial Center (VMC)
Our Mission Statement for both organizations says it all. As with many veteran organizations ours is a group with many missions and thus was divided over the years into two major components.
- The Brevard Veterans Council (BVC) is a 501(c)19 veterans organization. BVC’s mission is to work in conjunction with area veterans, local government, and other veterans’ organizations to support and promote the interests and welfare of Brevard County veterans and their families.
- The Veterans Memorial Center (VMC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. VMC’s mission is to maintain and operate a premier facility to educate the public, and provide a vibrant memorial to the service and sacrifice of all military veterans and their families through a museum, memorial plaza, library, and veterans park.
The History of the Brevard Veterans Council and Veterans Memorial Center
The Brevard Veterans Council and the Veterans Memorial Center grew out of the efforts of a small group of World War II veterans. They in 1978 at the Country Acres Cemetery in Titusville to pay final respects to a Navy veteran who would otherwise have been buried alone at a pauper’s funeral. This event caused the veterans to organize into a Veterans Advisory Council for the establishment of a veteran’s cemetery. A plot of land adjacent to the County Acres was donated for that purpose.
Forming the Brevard Veterans Council
In 1980, discussions focused on building a Veterans Center, and the Brevard Veterans Council (a 501(c)19) was chartered in 1990 for this purpose. Also in 1990, they were able to obtain the land at the current location on Merritt Island from the Brevard County Commissioners. The Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated on November 3, 1990 by representatives from 41 veteran’s organizations. The Veterans Memorial Center (a 501(c)3) was chartered in 1991 to assume responsibility for running the facilities, which included a U.S. Military History museum and media center, meeting rooms and offices, a 140 seat auditorium and a raised wood walkway along Sykes Creek.
In addition, there is outdoor space for large museum artifacts and a memorial plaza. The first artifact, a Vietnam-era UH-1H Huey helicopter was placed on display in 2003. The Veterans Memorial Garden Plaza was dedicated November 11, 2010.
Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 significantly damaged the facility. The Huey helicopter, along with a Cobra helicopter were damaged, taking a year to repair. The Center building received significant water damage, requiring two years of repairs before the museum reopened.
Since 1990 there has also been a Disabled American Veterans office at the Veterans Center providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other government agencies.
Expanding the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center
In 2015, an appropriation was received from the State of Florida to expand the capabilities of the Veterans Memorial Center. The money was earmarked to build a new museum building, retrofit the existing building to better serve veterans, and provide additional jobs for veterans. The Grand Opening was held November 11, 2016.
The Museum continues to thrive with over 4,000 artifacts as of 2021, and new exhibits added weekly.