TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Vince Stanley couldn’t hold back his smile as he looked at the display case showcasing Eva Kor’s Israeli military uniform.
“[I feel] great satisfaction because it’ll be here long after I’m gone,” Stanley said. “To be able to provide this kind of quality to display items is very rewarding.”
It was the end of a long road that started at the Pendleton Correctional Facility about 100 miles from Terre Haute. Stanley, the physical plant director, said they started a furniture factory about seven years ago, primarily making benches for state parks.
Stanley said the factory is run by 22 inmates who are very proud of the work they can produce.
“They feel like they give back to good causes,” he said. “They take a lot of pride in what they do and it shows in the work they provide.”
Over time, they started taking on new projects. So when the CANDLES Holocaust museum and educational center wanted a case to help preserve Kor’s uniform, the Indiana Department of Corrections reached out.
It was a perfect opportunity for the museum to take advantage of.
“We put out a call last fall to try and raise money to buy a case,” Troy Fears, the executive director of the museum, said. “It ends up, when we put that call out, the IDOC said, ‘Hey we can make a case and donate it to the museum on behalf of Eva, we could even do a podium.”
When the truck arrived Friday morning bearing the display case, podium and a sign bearing the name of the museum, Fears was overcome with relief.
“It was a great feeling because we’ve been waiting a long time for it,” he said.
Fears also praised the facility, where he says Kor gave one of her final presentations back in 2019.
“One of the last times she spoke before she passed away, she spoke to those prisoners there,” Fears said. “And for them to be able to give back and do some amazing work with this podium and the case and the sign, we’re very, very grateful here.”