CLINTON COUNTY, Ill. – Ahead of memorial day, a new museum is opening that is paying tribute to military service members near Bartlso, Ill.

The Standin’ Proud Veteran’s Tribute Museum is honoring U.S. personnel that have served in World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

“This memorial is for all the ones in Clinton County that passed away during the Vietnam War during combat,” Carl Huels, owner of Carl’s 4WD & Performance Center, said.

The space is filled with artifacts and stories of veterans.  

“You know for a kid from Clinton County, he met some amazing people and photographed Eisenhower, many of the movie stars,” says Bob Krebs, employee & contributor on his dad’s historic photos. “He had a unique experience and story.”

The highlight of the museum is a massive Ford truck called “Standin’ Proud.” The intricate paint includes 4,683 names of military personnel who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

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“Name of the truck came from the original builder, Matt Jones, from Illinois,” says Huels. “He did a special truck to honor all those who passed away during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”

Mementos and stories from every war on the truck continued through the museum. One of the most recent names of the 13 killed in Afghanistan includes St. Louisan Jared Schmitz.

Huels has owned Carl’s 4WD & Performance Center for 45 years, but his mission now is the museum, open to all to remember and honor those who gave their lives for their country.

“I guess bringing it down to a humbling experience to where they feel it and they can pass that feeling on to their friends and other people,” he said. “They gave up their dream so we can live our dreams and we just gotta keep remembering that.”