PINEHURST, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Moore County man is creating a special educational center for children of soldiers and first responders killed in the line of duty.
He says the land he bought for the building will pay tribute to his father who died in a Golden Knight mission 50 years ago.
Kenneth Wasley says building this center is a lifelong dream--a special space he longed for as a military child grappling with loss. His dad, Golden Knight Mike Wasley, was killed alongside 13 of his fellow knights during a mission back in 1973. Wasley is also honoring his nephew, Dylan, a talented young chef killed by a drunk driver in 2020.
"During those times, it was a little bit difficult and I always felt like there needed to be support for children for myself as kids--we really didn't have that," Wasley said. "That's a big focus for us--it's to create healing for children."
Through his organization, Children of Fallen Heroes, Wasley bought 82 acres of land on Morrison Bridge Road in Vass. His vision is to build a 73,000-square-foot facility offering arts and science programs for military children of all ages.
"We send a lot of these kids to different camps for help and so forth but if the foundation is broken at home, it doesn't work," Wasley said.
Wasley says the plan is to create a central location to offer programs that will teach kids about things like robotics, aviation, agriculture and horse riding--programs the organization has been facilitating nationwide for the past decade. Children of Fallen Heroes is currently in talks with corporate sponsors to begin fundraising for the $15 million facility.
"We've got a lot of fallen heroes and heroes today that we need to honor, you know," Wasley said. "We're blessed to have them."