The half-mile long, ten-foot wide Walkway circling the ship is one-of-a-kind, offering visitors a unique experience that honors veterans who served in World War II. During the dedication, former SECU Foundation Board Chair and Navy veteran Jim Barber spoke briefly to guests and supporters on behalf of State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members who helped fund the Walkway’s construction with a $3 million SECU Foundation grant.
“It’s an honor to be here to celebrate the dedication of the SECU Memorial Walkway. Through the collaborative efforts of SECU Foundation, Battleship officials, and many others in support of this inspiring initiative, we have together brought about a revitalization of this historic ship that highlights the accomplishments and sacrifices of those who have served and those who lost their lives fighting for our country,” said Mr. Barber. “SECU members have always been strong supporters of our state’s veterans and military personnel – the Walkway reflects gratitude for their many contributions and the difference they’ve made for all of us.”
The retired warship made its final voyage to its home state in the early 1960’s after being saved from the scrapyard by North Carolinians who organized the “Save Our Ship” campaign, raising $330,000 to purchase the ship from the federal government. More than five decades later, the USS Battleship NORTH CAROLINA continues to serve as a living memorial and museum, drawing over 300,000 visitors to the Wilmington area each year. The SECU Memorial Walkway, equipped with displays, signage, a quarterdeck, and five bump-out areas to honor each of the five military branches, will further enhance and help preserve the ship’s legacy and offer greater accessibility and educational value for generations to come.
“We are thankful for SECU Foundation’s gift for the Walkway honoring all North Carolina veterans,” says Captain Terry Bragg, Executive Director for the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. “This lasting tribute stands as a Memorial to our WWII veterans and all who have served. We are most grateful for State Employees’ Credit Union members’ commitment to our state and the veteran community.”
About SECU and the SECU Foundation
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for over 80 years. The Credit Union also offers a diversified line of financial advisory services including retirement and education planning, tax preparation, insurance, trust and estate planning services, and investments through its partners and affiliated entities. SECU serves over 2.3 million members through 263 branch offices, nearly 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Member Services via phone and a website, www.ncsecu.org. The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services. Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of more than $130 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide.