Artifact of the Week — May 11, 2023

Posted by on May 11, 2023

Rick Finley Day, May 20, 2023

Old Independence Regional Museum will host Rick Finley Day on May 20, 2023 from 11:00 – 1:00 to commemorate the day 34 years ago Rick Finley of Batesville lost his life in the line of duty serving as a Special Agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. He was on special assignment in the upper Huluga Valley region of Peru. The mission was a joint United States and Peruvian Anti-Drug Force tasked with the destruction of cocaine labs.  

In the summer of 1989 Rick was once again deployed to Peru on the second year of this mission. The previous year the Agents lodged in the Peruvian village Tingo Maria. In 1989 anti-government Communist guerrillas had become so active in the Huluga Valley that it was not safe to continue to base the Agents in the village; therefore they were flown back and forth from Lima to the area of operations.

On the 20th of May 1989 the aircraft Rick Finley was on disappeared. The aircraft was located later in the rugged terrain of the Andes Mountains. Nobody aboard survived the crash. Victims included Peruvian Military and U.S. personnel. In addition to the loss of Rick Finley two other residents of Arkansas on board the aircraft.

Rick Finley Building in Detroit, Michigan
Rick Finley Building in Detroit, Michigan

Because of his commitment to service and country, the Drug Enforcement Agency had a formal dedication of the federal building in Detroit, Michigan, renaming it the Rick Finley Building. This framed picture has been loaned to us by Rick’s sister, Sheila Finley. Sheila has loaned the museum a series of awards, commendations, pictures, and articles showcasing Rick’s accomplishments. Along with these, we have had generous donations and gifts from Rick’s friends and family members to fill out this exhibit and explain the details of Rick’s achievements.

Saturday the 20th of May a proclamation by Mayor Rick Elimbaugh declaring the day Rick Finley Day in Batesville will be read by an official. Visitors and friends of Rick Finley are invited to view an exhibit about Rick, his life, and his death in service to his country. Please join us to celebrate this brave American who gave his life to make ours better.

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