FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Hundreds of people gathered at the Blue Lion in Fort Smith Saturday (Feb. 2) for a chance to purchase commemorative coins that will help fund the U.S. Marshals Museum.
Lenore Beard was the first customer.
"I've been planning for a long time to buy these coins,” Beard said.
Her late husband was a U.S. Marshal in Arkansas. His name was Laurence C. Beard, but she called him Larry.
"I thought that was a better name than Laurence,” she said.
She said he had a lot of friends involved in politics, and was appointed to be a Marshal by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
“When there was a vacancy in the Marshals, they wanted him to be the Marshal," she said.
U.S. Rep. (R) Steve Womack sold her 17 commemorative coins, spending a total of $510.15. She bought eight silver dollar coins and nine clad coins. She said she plans to give them all to her grandchildren.
"Thank you very much for supporting the U.S. Marshal service and thank you so much for the service of your husband,” Womack said as he shook her hand.
The money raised through surcharges goes toward construction of the museum.
"Now we're going to help the museum get enough money to build. I want to hang around until it's built,” she said.
Organizers say more than 400 people showed up tonight to buy coins.
The coins honor the 225th anniversary of the U.S. marshals service, the nation's oldest federal law enforcement agency.