Peru, IN - Today (June 5, 2019) at 10:30 a.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery in Peru, Indiana, Regine Brindle showed up to have an interview with the Fox 59 news station's Kelly Reinke. Regine's story has garnered attention from all over Indiana, and indeed all around the country. Prior to her interview, and as the interview progressed I realized just how far this story has reached. Regine's story touches people's hearts and makes them want to help. The story of United States soldiers who are lost and forgotten, it tugs at the heartstrings of every patriot. Indoctrinated to honor and cherish the ultimate sacrifice of military service. And when we see soldiers being forgotten and unhonored, it wells within us a deep-seated sense of justice that this wrong must be righted! In fact Regine's group (http://www.miamicountyinworthremembering.org) has been working on this project with others for two years now, she is part of a team of people which includes her husband, Bruce Brindle, who supports her and does a lot of work, Brenda Weaver who has been an invaluable asset, Debby Smith Beheler who is the webmaster for the website and research anchor, Alexandria Blong who has been instrumental with the projects, as well as people like Kent Workman who does a lot of videotaping and presentations for them and presents some of the things through his project of Miami County Monthly News.
Regine's efforts were reported by the Kokomo Newspaper, which brought the Fox 59 News Crew into our community today. Her glow is attracting attention far and wide. She selflessly toils to make sure that all of the veterans in Miami County are remembered for their service. That's where her project began, to identify all of the WWI veterans of Miami County. And last year, 1500 of them were remembered on the courthouse lawn with the 1500 poppies that were each individually made by hands of Miami County residents ranging from the ages of 4 to 94. The Miami County citizens made poppies under the guidance of local businesswoman Alexandria Blong, who owns The Potter's Bench on W. 3rd Street in Peru. The pinnacle of this project culminated last Veteran's Day in the freezing cold, as many of the gold star veterans names on poppies were called and claimed by family and friends. Many of those poppies were then presented to different organizations as permanent displays as a remembrance of Indiana and Miami County veterans of WWI. Some of the poppies ended up in the permanent display at the war memorial in Indianapolis.
Next, Regine shifted her gaze to the graveyards of where the veterans that she identified are now, and what she found ended up opening another project she felt she had to complete. There are over 100 graveyards in Miami County, and 37 of those cemeteries have WWI vets. Over the last two years, Regine and her group have identified nearly 400 veterans in Mount Hope Cemetery alone, and only about 150 of those identified are marked as military, leaving the rest to be ignored for Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. This is what drew her into this project. She felt that all should be remembered and that there were so many stories untold. There are veterans like Raymond Waters, whose grave sits without a flag, and without a marker. Just down from him are two graves with flags and markers of veterans of Clarence O. Welch, and Isaac Hudleston. For Regine, she says why not Raymond Waters? He was a veteran too, and it just seems unfair to her. She welcomes history buffs to join her in her quest, which is where she picks up a lot of non-traditional volunteers. It has become a huge project, and it just keeps branching out. Currently, the Miami County Worth Remembering group has been working on a spreadsheet for each of the veterans, identifying information on them, links, etc.
Regine often spends her time researching history. She researches not only the veterans of WWI stories, other wars as well, but also people from around Peru and Miami County. She is often posting very interesting newspaper clippings about people and events from history. She has an eye for relevance as well, and post in a clipping that will be relevant at that specific time of year. It's impressive to watch how she works. The group, facebook page, and website she has helped to build is entitled Miami County Indiana Worth Remembering. The Facebook page alone has over 800 participants. If there is anything that has the power to save Peru, this might be it. Personal connections with history ignite passion. Peru will always hold a flickering flame, drawing people from all over, with her stories, that much is clear. From the very beginning, the city of Peru has been an underdog and continues to be to this day. As we all gather our wits about us and grab onto our bootstraps, remember it's been done over and over in Peru. People better than us, and worse than us have accomplished it, and we can too. Just be sure to grab onto your neighbor's floppy bootstrap if he needs a hand, just like our ancestors would have done.
FOX 59's Kelly Reinke and her cameraman did an awesome job covering this story. They asked questions, listened intently, and let the story into their hearts. Their polite professionalism was noticed by those in attendance.
If there is one thing Regine is good at, it's directing the light of fame onto others. She does not like to be the center of attention and is the most humble of people in Peru today. But fame follows her like a moth to a flame, and she would much rather give the credit to someone else if she has a chance. But those that love her, know that she is special, and what she is doing is monumental. You might also recognize her name as the person that takes the fantastic Bald Eagle pictures in Miami County. If you listen to the little birds, they are saying that she is going to be selling those images very soon through a new local venture! As time goes on, and more people strike out to make a difference, let's not forget to bring that attention back to Peru, and her people.
The Miami County Indiana Worth Remembering Facebook page website is https://www.facebook.com/groups/452242255125810
And you can view the Fox 59 News Report here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=398956594040379