Pioneer Services supports 2009 effort to save eternal flame at National WWI Museum

"Save the Flame" campaign founder re-enlists to keep flame burning for another year

With the possibility that the National World War I Museum’s eternal flame could be extinguished due to government budget cuts, Pioneer Services, the Military Banking Division of MidCountry Bank, has stepped up for the second year in a row with a sizeable financial contribution to keep the flame burning atop the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

"The eternal flame remains a symbol of our gratitude for those who made the ultimate sacrifice," said Tom Holcom, president of Pioneer Services. "Since we work exclusively with the military community, we could not just sit back and let the flame be extinguished, especially after our organization’s successful efforts to save the flame last year," said Holcom. "The WWI Museum is the only museum in America that preserves the legacy of those who served in the Great War, and Pioneer Services is committed to doing whatever we can to help ensure that legacy is honored."

In 2008, budget cuts threatened to extinguish the eternal flame except on special holidays. At the time, Pioneer Services initiated the "Save the Flame" campaign, an international awareness and fundraising effort that successfully raised more than $68,000 in just four weeks. Pioneer Services donated an initial $5,000 to keep the flame lit during the fundraising campaign from Memorial Day to July 4, 2008, contributing a total of $22,500 in matching funds to the widely-publicized campaign. Their efforts were profiled in USA Today, Stars and Stripes, and through extensive broadcast coverage.

Since its dedication in 1926, the memorial has been a Kansas City and national monument, looking over the downtown skyline. The National World War I Museum, which opened in 2006, was built beneath the existing Liberty Memorial. It is designated by Congress as the nation's official WWI Museum.

Pioneer Services recently committed $5,000 to keep the WWI eternal flame burning through 2010. The company continues to manage the campaign’s fundraising and awareness Web site,, promoting the need for continued assistance and to facilitate donations.