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POW makes donation to museum’s War Room

An autographed copy of Robinson’s book is now housed in the War Room of the Unicoi County Heritage Museum.

By Martha Erwin

The Unicoi County Heritage Museum’s 40th season and the Clinchfield Railroad Museum’s 11th season will soon be closing for the season on Sunday, Oct. 30.

After four decades, the Heritage Museum continues being dedicated in promoting preservation of the county and hometown’s heritage.  Seemingly, visitors delight in experiencing the availability of guided tours with firsthand information.

Despite gas increases and the  COVID-19 pandemic still in existence, daily tours are still being conducted. Thus far, the following states have been represented this season, as follows: Arizona, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

A complimentary autographed book titled “The Longest Rescue” has been donated to the the museum’s War Room by Vietnam POW, Capt. (Ret.) USAF, William Andrew Robinson from Lenoir City, Tennessee. This book chronicles Robinson’s captivity beginning on Sept. 20, 1065. Thereafter, Robinson’s endured 2,703 days in multiple North Vietnam prison camps and compounds.

An excerpt from his book reads, “No enlisted man in American military history has been held a prisoner of war longer than Robinson.”

Robinson was featured guest speaker at the Gold Star Memorial Dedication at Erwin Town Hall on Friday, June 17, 2022. The event was co-sponsored by the Unicoi County Heritage Museum and Charles E. King Sr. American Legion Post 25, Erwin.

Robinson’s book has been prominently displayed among the museum’s Vietnam memorabilia. Robinson and his wife Ora Mae are loyal supporters of the museums.

Plan a one day trip to both museums. It is for certain, a must-see destination. Museums are open from May through the first week in October. The remainder of October, museums are open only on weekends, 1 to 5 p.m.


Martha Erwin is curator for the Unicoi County Heritage Museum and the Clinchfield Railroad Museum.