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Hometown Hero: Dale Anderson combines love of history with honoring vets

Hometown Heroes

Oshkosh, Wis. (WFRV) – When Dale Anderson walks through the motor pool at the Military Veterans Museum in Oshkosh, it takes him back to the days of his youth when he enlisted.

“Didn’t think I had any plans for the future basically, so my best friend and myself went into the Buddy Basic program back in 1972,” Anderson recalled. “We enlisted and went into the army in September or October of that year, that’s when we started.”

Anderson was sent to Firth, Germany for two years where he did just what he hoped to when he enlisted- work as a mechanic.

“I was trained as a trac mechanic, however any veteran that you talk to  in the infinite wisdom of the military, they put me in a different job. So they actually put me in a general support company,” said Anderson.

“We rebuilt generators, regulators, starters, fuel pumps, that sort of thing. So we really didn’t do what we were trained to do, but it was still mechanical in nature,” he said.

Anderson re-enlisted with the national guard for two years after his service and then began looking for his next gig.

“I pretty much have spent my life reading a lot of  history to begin with, but after I got out of the army I  kind of wanted to know what it’s all about, why we did what we did,” said Anderson.

“So, I restudied a lot of history books and that sort of thing. As we were getting closer to retirement,  my wife and I started talking about where we wanted to live and she said, ‘Well, you like history, you like museums, why don’t you look at volunteering at a military museum?'” he said.

Anderson said he’s always loved looking back in time, so in 2015 he was able to combine his love for history with an opportunity to honor veterans here at the Military Veterans Museum.

“(We want to) get everyone to understand the history and what people have done as far as personal sacrifice to help people keep our country what it is today,” Anderson said.

Anderson is a board member with the museum and handles its volunteers, membership and marketing.

But what he hopes  for the future of the museum, is to keep it telling those stories of the past.

“A lot of veterans come through and it brings up memories that they probably have never had before. I had one case years ago where a Vietnam veteran and his wife came through and he started talking about his Vietnam experience. And his wife is standing next to him and had a look on her face like, ‘I’ve never heard this before,'” Anderson said.

“So, it just brings things out that they haven’t thought about for years. Between the veterans and the kids, those are some of the more fun things we do here,” he said.

Have someone you’d like to nominate for Hometown Hero? Let us know below!

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