When Dick Jaenski and Sue Rainey travel home from the USS Sterlet reunion this year, they'll have a little extra room in their car.
Paying homage to the submarines and crew members of World War II, Dick and partner Sue gathered every commemorative patch they could for a large display for the Veterans Museum in Branson, Mo.
For the past six months, since Dick noticed the Veteran's Museum in Branson didn't have anything to honor the submarine veterans, the couple has been collecting submarine patches. By visiting numerous blogs and forums on the Internet, Dick put out a call to as many submarine veterans and patch collectors that he could.
Within a month and a half, he had more than 300 patches.
Each patch collected honored a submarine that was either used for training, for missions or was commissioned for the United States' involvement in WWII. The period extended from the bombing on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 to the end of the war on Sept. 2, 1945.
During that time, more than 350 submarines were used. Of the six displays of patches, one of the 4-foot by 6-foot displays is dedicated to the 52 submarines, 374 officers and 3,131 submarine personnel who lost their lives while serving during the war.
"We feel a great pride of being able to say, to the millions of visitors each year to the veteran's museum, we got to honor these veterans of WWII," Dick said. "It's a big honor to do this. And it's going to be a great sense of pride for everyone."
Below each patch sits a commemorative inscription naming the submarine the patch is honoring, its years of service and, if it is still afloat, where it is currently located. Sue spearheaded the task of getting the plaques made along with manually organizing and mounting the patches within the display cases.
On Oct. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m., the patches will be on display at the Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr., Library before being taken to Branson for permanent display.