The goal of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund is to keep Ernie Pyle’s legacy alive and in doing so honoring the memory of those who served.
Located in the west-central Indiana town of Dana, the site features Ernie Pyle’s birthplace and a museum highlighting the famous journalist’s life and writings as a correspondent during World War II. The historic site is owned and operated by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, a nonprofit organization (federal tax ID number: 35-1866228) dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Pyle’s legacy in Dana, as well as throughout Indiana and the nation.
Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, to a tenant farm family just outside of Dana. He was an only child. He was educated in local schools and studied journalism at Indiana University-Bloomington before setting out on his newspaper career. He maintained contact with his family and hometown throughout his life. He was on assignment as a war correspondent when he died on April 18, 1945, after being struck by a Japanese machine gunner’s bullet on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa in the South Pacific. He was 44 years old.
The house in which Pyle was born was rescued from demolition in the mid-1970s and restored by an upstart organization which became the Friends of Ernie Pyle. A local fundraising effort allowed the house to be moved from its original rural location into the town of Dana. It was dedicated as an Indiana state historic site in 1976.
The site in its expanded form was re-dedicated with a new museum in 1995 and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources until December 2009, when it was closed due to state financial cutbacks. In September 2010, the Friends re-opened the site through special arrangement with the state. In fall 2011, the State of Indiana gave ownership of the site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle. On Jan. 1, 2012, the site was renamed the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum.
One of the purposes of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund and the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum is to promote awareness and understanding of the legacy and times of WWII correspondent Ernie Pyle. The museum also aims to provide a place where relevant educational programs can be provided. In addition, the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund may support programs and projects associated with Ernie Pyle and the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum such as, but not limited to: the regular operating support of the Museum, startup costs for new initiatives offered by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, and capital costs associated with the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum, including equipment, repair and/or remodeling of facilities, new facilities, etc.
Contributions to the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund are tax deductible and can be made online at www.wicf-inc.org or mailed to: Vermillion County Community Foundation, ATTN: Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund, PO Box 532, Clinton, IN 47842.