Meet Maggie Stitzel, a student through the HistoriCorps Institute. She just completed volunteer restoration work at both Greer Mill and Neosho School. Maggie has been described as an integral part of any team she’s on, constantly throwing herself into whatever task she is assigned and always ready to learn more. Having never done hands-on restoration work before, Maggie has learned a ton this past month alone! Having used a miter saw, planer, hammer and other essential tools, Maggie has decided she enjoys the chisel the best, using it at Greer Mill to cut a stringer for the reconstructed loading dock. So far, she’s done roofing and siding work, joist reinforcement, scaffolding,woodworking, stair construction and more. She will be lending a hand again this month at the Simpson Lake project, and she says she hopes to volunteer again on projects next year. Here’s what Maggie had to say:
“At the beginning of June, I packed my car and drove from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Missouri. I had been working as a receptionist and was fortunate to have access to a computer: HistoriCorps’s educational program was mentioned in a trade magazine published online. It stood out to me as an opportunity to learn in refreshing way. I’ve often felt confounded by the higher education system and hope that the kind of experience I have so far had with HistoriCorps becomes increasingly available for young adults like myself.
“I spent four weeks in Missouri – two working on Greer Mill in the Mark Twain National Forest, and two on George Washington Carver’s childhood school in Neosho. As a young student with no practical experience in construction or historic preservation, I was met with endless patience and always with the opportunity to learn. Both of the supervisors I worked with, Patrick Kennedy and John Bales, were impressive in their expertise and also proved to be quite entertaining to hang out with once the work day was over. Charlotte Helmer, the crew leader for the majority of my time in Missouri, is indefatigably cheerful in addition to being a brilliant young woman, and I am thankful for having gotten the chance to get to know her.
“I highly recommend this program to anyone, of any age, interested in historic preservation. Among the many people that make this program so valuable to me are the volunteers, who drive hundreds of miles to contribute their time and knowledge to save historic structures. One of the most important skills, in my experience, was to actively express curiosity. By doing so, I learned about brick masonry, carpentry, Missourian history, and too many other things to list.
“I will be participating in the Simpson Lake Cabins project in Wyoming this July to complete the requirements for the certificate offered by the HistoriCorps Institute. I hope to expand upon the skills that I have learned so far and plan to look for any other educational opportunities so that I can specialize in a trade in the hopes of making a career in historic preservation.”
Go Maggie, and good luck!