In honor of National Volunteer Month we would like to recognize the superhero volunteers at the Jackson Barracks and Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museums!
From our Director, MAJ Heather Englehart – “I thank each and every one of our volunteers regardless of the hours they are able to contribute. While we may be a small organization, their impact is large and everlasting.”
From Jackson Barracks Curator, Stan Amerski – “When I think about those who serve without expectation of reward, I hope that I can be like them one day. I have always believed in the importance of preserving the past. But the opportunity to associate with those who have finished careers, raised families, loved this country, and want to leave a mark for the world to ponder is an inspiration... Volunteers are the backbone of any organization, and now we are in the middle of circumstances which keep them from the work they love. We have accomplished many tasks. I pray for all of them, that this will be another thing they overcome. That they are safe with their loved-ones. And that we will have many more years of association.”
LOUISIANA CIVILIAN SERVICE MEDAL
One of the biggest honors that can be bestowed upon civilians by the Louisiana National Guard is the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. This award is authorized by the Adjutant General, upon recommendation of the awards board, to a civilian who has rendered exceptionally meritorious service in furthering the security and welfare of the State. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which is clearly exceptional. Museum criteria requires that individuals must have completed at least five years of service displaying outstanding dedication and unwavering support to the mission of the Louisiana National Guard.
SKIP BLANCHARD and RICHARD KOTTEMANN will be nominated for this very special award to be presented at a date later this year. Both of you have devoted service that is clearly exceptional over the last five years. We love having you as part of the Jackson Barracks Museum Team and look forward to the next five years! Congratulations!!
Skip Blanchard - Louisiana Civilian Service Medal 2020
Richard Kottemann - Louisiana Civilian Service Medal 2020
BIG TIME AWARD
This year we want to recognize Dick Sandlin at the Louisiana Maneuvers Museum and Harold Wilson at the Jackson Barracks Museum for the Big Time Award! These guys went above and beyond!
Dick Sandlin contributed the most hours of any of our volunteers this year with 296! He is a long-time volunteer at the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum. Dick helps out wherever he can and does terrific tours with visitors. Bev really appreciated his help on a cool, wet day trying to find all those serial numbers on the macroartifacts. Thanks for all your terrific help Dick!
Harold Wilson contributed a grand total of 235 hours! Harold wears two hats at the Jackson Barracks museum. On Wednesdays he is the brains and muscle behind the essential documentation work for the small arms restoration crew where he records and curates all the data about each weapon and all the details of what was done to restore it. Harold makes it possible for the museum to practice good artifact conservation principles for this important project. Dozens of pistols, rifles and machine guns beautiful restored by this crew will find their new home in our upcoming Wall of Weapons Display. On Thursdays he shows up again to put on his other hat as an assistant in the Archive. Recently he’s been working on a backlog in our newspaper collection but he’s also created Finding Aids for the Jackson Barracks Archive and several other collections. Great work Harold!
KIND OF A BIG DEAL
The Kind of a Big Deal Awards go to Dave Harrell with 174 hours, Skip Blanchard with 162 hours and Tom O’Flarity with 150 hours! These three are keepers for sure!
Dave Harrell has been with the 122nd Group for 16 years. He is the “get stuff done guy” leading the crew on project after project. He is also the designated photographer, secretary, accountant, marketing department and the guy who has bled on the floor the most. The team just wouldn’t be the same without Dave’s smiling face and inherent leadership abilities. Big Thanks Dave! – You make all of those big projects possible! This is Dave and Don Wolfe with one of the completed projects!
Skip Blanchard is a five year veteran of the Jackson Barracks crew and a nominated recipient of the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. He used to fly jets and now, along with Richard and some of the rest of the team, he’s building one! Well maybe not a jet but it’s a very cool model of a basic plane that kids can sit in to “fly” while they learn all about how airplanes work. We also very much appreciate it when Skip helps us with school groups who are interested in his F4. Big Thanks to Skip for sharing his time with us this year!
Tom O’Flarity has become the engine of the greased machine that is the Small Arms Restoration Crew. This year he logged in 150 hrs of hard work dismantling weapons, cleaning, waxing and somehow figuring out how to put them all back together without leftover parts! He’s also really good at making sure none of them escape out the door. Volunteers like Tom are treasured! Here's a nice photo of Charlie, Harold and Tom hard at work!
ROCK SOLID AWARD
We have no less than seven recipients in our Rock Solid Award category! These guys show up and contribute as often as they can – they are the bedrock of getting stuff done!
COL (R) Arthur Alberti has been with the 122nd Restoration group for 26 years and counting! This year he contributed 120 hours. You can always find him around supervising the situation and is continuously looking out for the best interests of his guys. Here's Art and Tom Allen inspecting the new paint shed tent.
Charles Monsted is another long time veteran of the Restoration Group at Jackson Barracks now in his 17th year of service. This year he logged in another 108 hours – a lot of them with the small arms restoration team. His hard work dismantling, cleaning and waxing weapons means that our Wall of Weapons display will be ready to open much sooner than initially expected! Here's Charlie helping Stan install the German Minenwerfer.
Don Wolfe is in his eighth year of membership with the 122nd Restoration Group. He is always up for working on any project we can come up with. And this year we found out he has special electrical skills so he’s now our official Tech Hardware Guru. He got both our broken VHS/DVD Converter and our Humvee Sound Effects Player operational again!
Richard Kottemann is a nominated recipient of the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. Now a five year veteran of the Jackson Barracks Team, this year he added 132 hours to his total. He and Skip are the “pilots” of the Ultralight Airplane Project that is shaping up nicely. This big model plane will be an essential tool for teaching young museum visitors all about the basics of flight. Richard’s amazing wood working skills are really appreciated!
Scott Monsted joined the crew two years ago and this year contributed 102 hours. He’s usually found with Charlie, Tom and Harold working hard on the weapons but he’s also pretty good at sharing historical pictures and stories with the staff and the rest of the team!
Alton LeNormand joined the team at Jackson Barracks about a year ago. This year he contributed 108 hours helping with macroartifact restoration work. Alton always has a great story to share and is rapidly becoming an important team member. Here's Alton helping Richard, Scottt and Charlie with some wood work!
BIG HEART AWARD
This crew just keeps on giving so what’s better than to give them a shout out for their Big Hearts!
James Armour has worked with the Jackson Barracks Museum over seven years, signing up right after completing his Master Degree in Museum Studies at SUNO. This year he contributed 87 hours of library work. He is an inexhaustible book cataloger and digital scanner. Thanks to his incredible work, we added 448 volumes to the LibraryThing collection last year bringing our grand total up to 5,234 books! Big thanks to Mr. Armour and his wonderful limo driver too!
Tom Allen started helping out with the Jackson Barracks restoration team about 3 years ago. This year is put in 42 hours working on the macroacrtifact repair and painting. Tom loves working on military equipment and even owns a Willis Jeep of his own. We always appreciate it when he can spend a day with us. Thanks Tom!
Jim Rhodes is a long-time volunteer at the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum. This year he added 6 hours to his total. Jim has contributed hundreds of hours manning the phones and giving visitor tours. Thanks so much for all your work Jim!
Special thanks to John D'Antoni for contributing 38 hrs this year. John has been with the Jackson Barracks Museum in the summers for the last couple of years while he’s on break from his job as a teacher. John came to us while working on his Masters at UNO. He built our Col Cook online photo exhibit and put in some serious hours sorting WW2 related documents from Camp Beauregard. Appreciate your help John!
Big thanks also to Maddie Roach who contributed 35 hrs this year. Maddie is developing a career in archaeology and history so was looking for some hands-on experience. She spent many hours listening to video interviews with Guarsdmen and making content notes so future researcher can use the material. Thanks a lot Maddie!
And last but not least is Caya Mumme, a high school student who lives on Jackson Barracks. She contributed 17 hrs towards completing her service hour requirement for school. Cay worked on all sorts of projects from helping us with important housekeeping tasks to book cataloging and shelving. Really appreciate your help and hope you come back soon Caya!