published Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Medal of Honor Museum plans publicity effort

A media campaign to support Chattanooga's Medal of Honor Museum is making innovative use of the prototypical hero's response: "I was just doing my job."

The campaign will use mock help-wanted ads in the Times Free Press to highlight the stories of individual Medal of Honor recipients and build support for a permanent home for the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History.

"If you read interviews with the honorees ... there's a common theme," Mike Polcari of The Johnson Group, which developed the pro bono campaign, said in a news release. "They frequently say, 'I was just doing my job,' or words to that effect. ... So we just followed that idea to its natural conclusion. What kind of person would accept a job like this? The kind of person who deserves the Medal of Honor."

The first mock ad, appearing in Sunday's "Jobs" section, is for a lifeguard at Normandy Beach, France. The "job requirements" include "rescuing victims struggling ashore against heavy surf and a machine gun barrage" and carrying "injured beachgoers out through a sea boiling with whitecaps, blood and explosions."

Readers who click on the Web link, MOHjobs.com, will find the story of the medal recipient, photos and a copy of the presidential citation.

Roger Vaughn of The Johnson Group said the aim is to help grow awareness of the museum, which is now tucked away in a small space inside Northgate Mall.

Museum Executive Director Jim Wade said a fundraising campaign will begin in 2012 to move the museum to a larger space. The goal is to have display space for the collection in a tourist area, perhaps near Moccasin Bend, he said.

He said the museum leaders are grateful to The Johnson Group.

"They are doing this gratis, out of the goodness of their heart, and we're most appreciative," Wade said.

Vaughn said the firm has prepared five or six mock ads that will appear in the newspaper over several weeks.

"Our vision is people really becoming involved and looking for them, kind of an Easter egg hunt in the classified section," he said.

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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