04.24.18

SCHUMER: HERKIMER COUNTY LEADERS ARE PURSUING A MEMORIAL TO HONOR THE LIFE OF ASTRONAUT GREGORY JARVIS, A LOCAL HERO WHO TRAGICALLY LOST HIS LIFE 32 YEARS AGO ABOARD THE SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER; SENATOR CALLS ON NASA TO SHARE EXPERTISE & ARTIFACTS WITH LOCAL PLANNERS TO HELP CREATE COMMEMORATIVE DISPLAY IN HERKIMER COUNTY

Community Leaders Are Planning To Establish A Permanent Memorial To Be Displayed In Herkimer County Honoring The Life Of Astronaut, Payload Specialist and Herkimer County Native Gregory Jarvis 

Schumer Is Calling On NASA To Help Make Project A Reality By Working Side-By-Side With Local Planners & Sharing Memorabilia, Artifacts, And Other Official NASA Insignia That Could Be Showcased Locally 

Schumer To NASA: Help Herkimer County Preserve Astronaut Jarvis’ Legacy For Generations To Come

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today urged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to work with Herkimer County officials to establish a permanent memorial honoring Challenger Astronaut Gregory Jarvis to be displayed in Herkimer County. Gregory Jarvis, who was raised in Herkimer County, was a payload specialist who tragically lost his life on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch. Schumer is calling on NASA to do everything possible to help local officials continue to honor Mr. Jarvis’ legacy, especially in his home community.

“Astronaut Gregory Jarvis exemplified the best America has to offer and taught us to always reach for the stars. He is worthy of an effort to help continue to preserve his legacy for generations to come and I commend Herkimer County leaders for spearheading this important project,” said Senator Schumer. “Mr. Jarvis was a hero close to the hearts of many in this community, and his instrumental role in advancing the scientific and space exploration efforts of NASA should be permanently enshrined right here in Herkimer County. That is why I am calling on NASA  to continue to work side-by-side with local planners, lends its expertise and share artifacts to help make this project.”

"This is the best gift we could have asked for.  We're thrilled with Senator Schumer's support of Herkimer County youth in their request to acquire artifacts from NASA for the Memorial of Astronaut Greg Jarvis,” said  Herkimer County Legislator John L. Brezinski

Schumer wrote to Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa officially requesting the help of NASA in the planning and establishment of a memorial honoring Mr. Jarvis. To show the community’s enthusiasm for the project, Schumer highlighted an event last year where local students, community leaders, and public officials signed and unveiled a scroll requesting NASA’s assistance in creating a permanent display. While the size and style is yet to be determined, local planners are hoping to include artifacts from both his early life in Herkimer County and his career with NASA. Schumer added that NASA’s assistance is critical in order for the memorial to most accurately honor Mr. Jarvis’ legacy in his hometown.

Schumer concluded that “Herkimer County wants to encourage their youth to look to the future with excitement and believe that no dream is too big. There is no better role model to do so than Astronaut Gregory Jarvis.”

A copy of Schumer’s letter is below:

Dear Dr. Ochoa,

I write to request the help of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in establishing a memorial honoring Challenger Astronaut Gregory Jarvis to be located in Herkimer County, New York. Local officials are seeking to create a memorial for Mr. Jarvis, who was raised in Herkimer County, and are hoping to include official NASA artifacts and memorabilia in order to properly honor his legacy. Such support will enable Herkimer County to commemorate the life of this public servant and inspire future generations to pursue their dreams.

As you know, Astronaut Gregory Jarvis was a payload specialist who tragically lost his life along with seven other astronauts on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after its launch. Mr. Jarvis spent most of his childhood in the town of Mohawk in Herkimer County and graduated from Mohawk High School in 1962. After acquiring a bachelors and master’s degree, Astronaut Jarvis embarked on a second advanced degree through which he aspired to be the first person to get a college degree in space – a feat he was awarded posthumously – and served active duty in the United States Air Force. His legacy continues to inspire children in Herkimer County where the middle school he once attended now bears his name.

The effort to further honor Mr. Jarvis with a memorial was inspired by NASA’s visit to Gregory Jarvis Middle School in Mohawk in the spring of 2016. Dignitaries from NASA visited local schools and spoke passionately about NASA’s role in the journey to Mars and the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In conjunction with the visit, an art contest titled “Journey to Mars – My Trip to Space,” was held across county schools and Astronaut Lee Morin addressed the county legislature. A year later in May 2017, local officials and students added their signatures to a scroll supporting a memorial for Astronaut Jarvis, officially launching their effort to make this project a reality.

Specifically, officials and students are looking to create a permanent, secure display open to the public. The size and style is to be determined, but officials hope to include artifacts from both his early life in Herkimer County and his career with NASA. Potential artifacts could include, but are not limited to, flight suits, helmets, gloves, patches, pictures of missions and copies of awards/recognitions. It is my hope NASA will work with the County to deliver some of these requests and continue to honor this local and national hero. 

Herkimer County wants to encourage their youth to look to the future with excitement and believe that no dream is too big. There is no better role model to do so than Astronaut Gregory Jarvis. The entire community is enthusiastic about this project and are eager to bring it to fruition.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.  

Sincerely

Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senate Minority Leader

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