(The following press release and photo were submitted to MyFox23.com from the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, based at Camp Shelby.)
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby bid farewell to Director Chad Daniels, October 2, after 18 years of service to the Pinebelt's military community.
Daniels says his departure from the MAFM is bitter sweet. He is excited about his new position as the director of federal programs for Vermont's Agency of Education, but is sad to leave behind his Camp Shelby family.
"It's been a real honor and a privilege to work here, to work with Mississippi veterans, and to work at Camp Shelby, which is a very special place to me," said Daniels.
The museum underwent a massive renovation during Daniels' tenure.
Daniels said he and the staff worked diligently to remain good stewards of its historical military material to share with future generations.
"The museum has been a great success and continues to develop to offer a place to honor Mississippi's veterans and a place to educate the public about Mississippi's many contributions to national defense," said Daniels. "I'm excited about the new director. I think we couldn't have found a better person to take over the role."
New museum Director Thomas Lofton, a Warren County native, returns to Mississippi after 11 years at his previous position as a research historian at New Orleans' National World War II Museum.
"It's good to be home, good to be back in Mississippi...I have some big shoes to fill following after Chad Daniels, but it's an honor for me to do this," said Lofton. "It's been great to see the museum grow and become what it is now. I'm hoping that I can do the best I can to make this place grow even further to become even bigger."
Lofton, a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, plans to expand the museum's programs, including more access and exposure to Medal of Honor recipients and more involvement with local schools through field trips and traveling exhibits.
"This is something that Mississippi can be proud of, and I would encourage and hope to bring in more and more local Mississippians to come to their museum to see our rich history, and military history," said Lofton.
For more information about the museum, visit its website at https://armedforcesmuseum.us/home.