National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Announces Two Key Staff Additions

National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Announces Two Key Staff Additions


Feb 28th, 2023

MOHHC horizontal fix 11.3.21 1


National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Announces Two Key Staff Additions


The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is pleased to announce two key additions to its support staff – Kenny Turpen as its new Director of Development and Maranda Wilkinson as its new Director of Education and Public Programming.

As the tourism recovery continues to take shape, I am delighted to announce the Heritage Center has added two incredibly qualified and passionate people to our staff. Each will bring their own unique set of qualifications and talents to our mission, but I believe both will play a critical role in shaping our future.

Kenny HeadshotKenny Turpen brings with him more than 10 years of development and fundraising experience and will be responsible for managing the Heritage Center’s three annual fundraising events and overseeing donor development efforts, including the campaign to design and build a new Space Medal of Honor exhibit. Prior to joining the Heritage Center, Kenny served as the Director of Development for Southern Adventist University where he managed the university’s annual fundraising and planned giving efforts while helping successfully complete its recent $50 million capital campaign.

Maranda HeadshotBringing nearly 15 years of education and curriculum experience, Maranda Wilkinson will be responsible for overseeing and growing the Heritage Center’s ongoing educational initiatives. Maranda joined the Heritage Center after working for the Korean War Legacy Foundation where she managed the Foundation’s educational efforts, including the development of a curriculum to assist teachers, students and the general public in understanding the origins and outcomes of the Korean War, the challenges that soldiers faced while fighting it, and its rich legacy promoting democracy and freedom in the world today. Prior to working with the Korean War Legacy Foundation, she served in a variety of curriculum development and education roles in Franklin County, Tennessee.  

Chattanooga is the Birthplace of the Medal of Honor. Since opening our doors three years ago, the Heritage Center’s mission has focused on sharing the Medal of Honor story – from the first Medal awarded in 1863 to the present day – and connecting people with these powerful stories in ways that will inspire them to emulate the six values that embody the Medal of Honor in their daily actions and help make our country better.

Join me in welcoming these two new employees to our team.

–  David Currey

   Executive Director


More background on the new appointments:

  • Kenny Turpen has a background in education, receiving BS from Southern Adventist University. After teaching for several years, he transitioned careers to philanthropy. He worked at Bethel Bible Village before moving to his alma mater serving as a major gifts officer and eventually director of development. While at Southern Adventist University he helped the university complete its largest-ever campaign at $50M. He raised money for new buildings on campus, endowments, scholarships and special projects. He is a Certified Fund Raise Executive and holds his Certified Specialist in Planned Giving from the American Institute of Philanthropic Studies at California State University at Long Beach. Kenny has lived in the Chattanooga area since 2005 with his wife Lauren and has two children, Molly and Nolan.


  • Maranda Wilkinson is a former STEM Curriculum Specialist/Coordinator, Curriculum and Instruction Coach, and middle school Social Studies teacher, serving in Franklin County, Tennessee, for nine years. She holds a B.S. in Social Studies from Athens State University, a M.S. in Instructional Media from Wilkes University, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Wilkes University. Her recent work with the Korean War Legacy Foundation included overseeing a cadre of Teacher Fellows from across the U.S. and related educational projects. She has also participated in educational opportunities sponsored by numerous organizations, including the American Friends of Russian Folklore (now Partnership for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Folklore), Korean War Legacy Foundation, Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, National Consortium for Teaching about Asia and the International School for Jain Studies. 


Thank you for your support of the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

To make a gift of further support please click the button below. 


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About the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center
Opened in February 2020, the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is situated in the heart of the birthplace of the Medal of Honor—Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 19,500 square-foot facility features life-sized, immersive exhibits that memorialize our nation’s highest military award for valor, honor its national heritage and recipients, and educate future generations of Americans about the six character traits embodied by the Medal of Honor and its recipients: Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment. For more information, please visit

Scott Saunders

Scott Saunders leads Historical Interpretation as part of the Education Department at the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Scott is currently reading "Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth's Extinct Worlds" by Thomas Halliday.


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