A Suitable Home
While serving at Clark Air Base in Luzon during the early 1970's, Charles Burch and his family enjoyed learning about the Philippines and its people. During their stay there, they acquired a wide variety of artifacts, including woodcarvings, baskets, backpacks, a warrior's shield, and paintings.
What do you do with such "special things" which you bring back after living in a foreign country? Most souvenirs are generally discarded after a few years; some are sold; only a few are kept. For the Burchs, none of these options were acceptable.
For years after returning to the U.S., the Philippine artifacts were part of the furnishings in the Burch's Newport News home. But then their lives changed when Linda, the wife and mother, passed away in 1995. Shella, her daughter, went off to college, and Marc, Linda's stepson, remained in Kansas after attending college there.
As a result, a new "home" for their Philippine "treasures" had to be found. They wanted to put them in a facility where they would be properly preserved, used, and most importantly, appreciated.
A solution became apparent when Charley, a retired Air Force Officer, read in a local newspaper about the new Filipino American Student Cultural Center at ODU. As a result, numerous items were donated to the Center in Linda's memory.
On September 7, 1999 a reception for the Burch family was hosted at the Center. The event was attended by Karen Gould, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, faculty members, and Filipino community leaders led by Dr. Juan Montero. Dr. Steve Carpenter and Ron Papa were the artists in charge of arranging the donated items. It is the family's hope that these items will be useful to the students and the University, and that others will make similar contributions in the future.