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Museum gets rare piece after private tour

January 3, 2014
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A rare M7 grenade launcher that was sent from California arrived at the War Veterans Museum in Canfield last week.

The grenade launcher was from a gentleman who was impressed with his tour guide at the museum and he wanted to contribute something.

Gary Oliver stopped by the War Veterans Museum on Nov. 30 to see the collection and displays. Like most visitors, he was offered a tour by volunteer Joe Conroy Jr. of Canfield.

Article Photos

War Veterans Museum volunteer Joe Conroy Jr. shows off a rare M7 grenade launcher that was donated to the museum after a tour that Conroy conducted.

"Joey gave the fellow a one-hour-plus tour of all three floors," said Joe Conroy Sr.

Oliver, a Vietnam veteran from Forest Hill, Calif. listened to the young Joe tell the stories of the various artifacts at the museum. Oliver was impressed with his knowledge of World War II and he shared a lot of information about the weapons and what life was like for a soldier. One artifact that Conroy centered on was the museum's WWII M1 rifle. The conversation between Joe Jr. and Oliver led to a discussion about how the rifle was outfitted with an M7 grenade launcher, a piece the museum did not have in its collection of more than 40,000 artifacts.

According to Oliver, he was impressed with the middle school student and Boy Scout.

When Joe Jr. and his dad arrived at the museum Dec. 14 to volunteer for the day, they were greeted by museum trustee Mike Platton and Director Doug Speece, who informed the Conroys they had received the package from California that contained the M7 attachment and a deactivated grenade.

"Good job Joey," Platton said.

The launcher was logged in and is now part of the M1 rifle display. Joe Conroy Jr. had already done research into it, not knowing the donation was coming.

"Joe looked up info and found it was very hard to hit anything at a distance [with the M7] but was adequate at best at short ranges," Joe Sr. said.

Not only had Joe Jr. secured a rare piece for the museum, but he gained a new friend in California who shared his love of American history.



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