Chris Stamberger, museum volunteer, second from left, invites Chuck Holtz, Dr. Robert Krenz, and Jim Flaherty to watch recorded interviews of local veterans at the Hume-Carnegie Museum, Sept. 19. (Reporter photos by Jennifer Sommer)
MENDOTA – Chuck Holtz, Dr. Robert Krenz and Jim Flaherty met at the Hume-Carnegie Museum on Sept. 19. As veterans, they each have interesting stories from their time in the military. Once together, they quickly began to tell accounts from years ago.
Holtz served in the U.S. Army from 1971-1972, Company A, First Battalion, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. “Your pride was in your unit,” Holtz said.
Holtz has learned that much healing comes from talking about that one long year. “It is a part of me. I will talk to anyone who wants to listen,” he added.
He has even reconnected with others from his unit.
Holtz currently has several items on display at the Hume-Carnegie Museum, including a miniature replica of the Alpha Company headquarters at Phuoc Vinh Base Camp, a former U.S. Army base in southern Vietnam. The orderly room would house the company clerk and company executive officer. Holtz created the display nine years ago.
Jim Flaherty, a U.S. Army veteran, was drafted in 1965 and also served during the Vietnam War.
Dr. Robert Krenz enlisted in the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and eventually obtained his dental degree. “They kept sending me to get more education so I stayed in,” he said.
Chuck Holtz, left, shows Jim Flaherty a miniature replica of the Alpha Company headquarters at Phuoc Vinh Base Camp in Vietnam. The pair shared stories of their time in Vietnam.
Holtz and Krenz have shared some of their history through a videotaped interview at the Hume-Carnegie Museum. Their videos and 11 other local veterans’ videos are available to view at the museum.
Chris Stamberger, museum volunteer, is in search of more local veterans willing to be interviewed. A video of the interview will be made with a copy given to each veteran and a copy saved at the museum.
The museum began interviewing World War II and Korean War veterans around six years ago. They have since interviewed Vietnam veterans, along with peacetime and stateside veterans.
The casual interview will give a veteran an opportunity to tell how and where they served and some of their stories and memories. Past interviews have been as short as 10 minutes and as long as an hour. All branches of the service are welcome.
The museum will host an open house to honor all veterans on Sunday, Nov. 11. Everyone is invited to the museum to talk with the veterans and view the displays of their memorabilia.
Veterans may be interviewed at the open house, as well.
For more information, contact the Mendota Museum & Historical Society at (815) 539-3373.