YUBA COUNTY -- The Museum of the Forgotten Warriors is an astounding treasure trove of military memorabilia that began as a private collection.
It’s hard to believe the collection of military memorabilia, which ranges from vehicles and weapons to historic, one of a kind items dating from the Civil War and earlier, resides on the property of Roberta Spear.
Her late husband, Dann, began collecting when he was a child.
“We just keep adding more and more, and we really had no idea all those years ago that this was going to happen,” Spear told FOX40.
The collection grew from the house to the garage and now to several buildings on the property opposite Beale Air Force Base.
Dann was never in the military but he and Roberta felt Vietnam veterans were treated badly when they got home, thus the name of the museum.
Now, most of the countries’ modern wars, including those in the Middle East, are represented in the museum.
“It’s amazing to see how far back it actually goes and how much history there is,” said Lacy Fiorelli.
Fiorelli brought her daughter, Payton, and son, Henry, to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors on Memorial Day. When she was a child her Air Force father did the same for her.
“I don’t want us to forget this part of, you know, our history. It’s really important,” she said.
Each of the tens of thousands of items in the museum is interesting but they are also linked to people with personal stories.
Those stories are told with medals, notes, autographs, letters and documents that preserve an important snapshot in time.
The museum has also become a memorial to local fallen heroes. It is opened every Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“It means so much to me, you know, to be a part of this,” said artist and veteran Bert Johnson.
Johnson is one of the many volunteers who help operate the museum. His paintings on two large helicopter blades depicting scenes from the Vietnam War were done free of charge.
“One of the highest honors for me to do what I can for representing this museum and what it stands for,” Johnson said.
Run solely by volunteers, the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors is open every Saturday with limited hours. It is also open by appointment for group visits.