GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids honored a hero from West Michigan whose mission was to reach for the stars.
A bronze statue now stands just outside of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum of Apollo Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee.
He died in 1967 during a pre-launch test for the Apollo One Mission. Chaffee’s surviving wife, Martha Horn Chaffee, was brought to tears as a bronze statue of her husband was unveiled in downtown Grand Rapids.
“Fifty-one years Roger’s been remembered, and now he’ll be remembered for centuries more,” she said.
Shuttle astronaut and Grand Rapids native, Jack Lousma delivered the keynote speech.
Chaffee is also remembered for his work with the Boy Scouts of Grand Rapids. He earned an Eagle Scout ranking in Troop No. 215, the same troop of President Gerald R. Ford.
The statue of Chaffee now proudly stands outside of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, where his wife hopes children can be inspired to try anything they set their minds to.
“I hope all the children that go into the museum will look up at Roger and say, ‘Hey I can do it too.’ If you have a goal and keep working at that goal you can do it,” she said.