ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Heading into Veteran’s Day 18 News will be highlighting the stories of our local veterans and their contributions to our country. We spoke with Joe Kopacz, a veteran and past president at the Vietnam Veterans Museum about his experience during the Vietnam War.

Kopacz, originally from Buffalo, New York fought in the Vietnam War from 1960-1970 after making a life-changing decision that would impact his relationship with his fiancé. However, the love they shared is what kept him going.

“I’m still with her today. We just celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary. I am so blessed. We have sixteen grandchildren and three great grandkids. I’m a happy man,” said Kopacz.

The Vietnam Veterans Museum doors opened between 2007-2008. It honors the memory and sacrifices of Veterans and serves as the home of Chapter 803 of the Vietnam Veterans Association. It is also known as the “Last man standing museum”. The last person standing in the chapter gets to lock the doors and turn off the lights.

All Veterans are welcome to come, sit and talk also join the chapter. The Museum is located at 12000 Davidson Street in Elmira, about half a mile south of Woodlawn National Cemetery.

“This museum is our home away from home. This is sacred ground to us. We have a brotherhood and a sisterhood for any veteran that wants to come in sit down and talk,” Kopacz continued.