Q: What sparked your interest in history?
A: I think my interest in history was sparked by my family being very involved in history through World War II. It’s [also] just cool to learn about the past and what America used to be.
Q: What is the extent of your historical collections?
A: I’ve got about $3000 worth of war memorabilia from several wars including World War II, Korea, Vietnam and even some stuff from Germany from World War II. It expands a lot.
Q: How have you expanded your collection?
A: I actually talked to a lot of veterans who were more than willing to share their stories with me. A lot of them wanted to pass their stories and their belongings through the generations, and they believed that I was good enough to carry it.
Q: What kind of activities do you participate in that satisfy your interest in history?
A: I like going to reenactments, and personally this year I am trying to get into a reenacting division.
Q: Why do you like the reenactments?
A: The reenactments are some of the coolest things you can go to, especially the one in Rockford. They have professional pyrotechnics set up, and they explode in the field. It looks amazing. They’ve got tanks, artillery [and] troops, and the troops from different countries speak the languages [of that country] fluently. It’s like being an extra on a movie. You get to watch all of these things unfold, and it’s like being in history.
Q: How have you maintained your interest?
A: I have maintained my interest in history through researching and speaking to veterans because I’ll hear about an event during the war or a battle that I don’t know much about, and I’ll look it up. It opens up doors to many more things about equipment, people and stories.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to explore a more personal interest in history?
A: I’d say to ask around your family, especially older members. You never know what stories they may hold. Also, don’t be afraid to speak to a veteran you see on the street or something. I’m sure they have stories to tell.