A Herkimer County legislator wants to honor the memory of astronaut Gregory Jarvis, killed Jan. 28, 1986, during the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
Now, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has joined the cause.
Schumer has urged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to work with Herkimer County officials to establish a permanent memorial honoring Jarvis to be displayed in Herkimer County, according to a news release.
Jarvis, who was raised in Herkimer County, was a payload specialist and one of seven astronauts killed in the explosion.
“Astronaut Gregory Jarvis exemplified the best America has to offer and taught us to always reach for the stars,” Schumer said in the release. “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.
“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,” he added. “That is why I am calling on NASA to continue to work side by side with local planners, lend its expertise and share artifacts to help make this project.”
Schumer wrote to Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa officially requesting the help of NASA in the planning and establishment of the memorial. While the size and style is yet to be determined, local planners are hoping to include artifacts from both Jarvis’ early life in Herkimer County and his career with NASA.
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.
“This is the best gift we could have asked for,” said Herkimer County Legislator John Brezinski. “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.”
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