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Volunteer puts history into action

Military museum gets a helping hand from a devoted local veteran

A full-time college student, U.S. Army veteran Jerry Brown puts in a nearly full-time week volunteering to teach others about military history at the Camp White Military Museum in the former domiciliary in White City.

The Medford resident said his passion for history and the fact the museum needed some steady volunteers drew him and his wife, Tina, in to help.

It's all for a good cause. I was coming out to the Dom anyway and they had an opening here at the museum, he said. I like history ' my dad's a history teacher ' so I asked if I could help out. I love the military, so it's a good match for me.

Brown puts in more hours than any other volunteer, said Al Inlow, commander of the Camp White Historical Association.

— He's very knowledgeable on military things ' that's quite important if you want to give a tour of the museum ' and he puts in a lot of hours. He works probably 30 hours a week.

We'd sure be lost without the time he gives us.

A native of Clarksburg, W.Va., Brown enlisted in the Army at age 19 and trained as a mechanic. Stationed in Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., for much of his enlistment time, he was deployed twice for three-year tours to Germany.

Just after Brown's first tour to Germany, Fort Benning's 24th Infantry Division was deployed to Iraq, 10 days after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait.

After 14 years' service, Brown was discharged because of a minor leg injury he had sustained during his enlistment.

I was about 10 percent disabled and they said I was 30 (percent), so they sent me home, said Brown.

Once discharged, Brown and his wife, a native Oregonian, made their way West.

He'd still be on active duty, if he could.

I'd go back in right now if they'd let me, said the 39-year-old. But they won't.

So he does the next best thing, aside from raising a son and two daughters and attending Rogue Community College full time studying construction management technology: He shares his passion for the military and educates the community on its history.

His duties at the museum range from giving tours to school groups and tourists, conducting PowerPoint presentations and opening for special tours on Saturdays when needed.

He spends quiet spells in between learning even more about the museum collection, which includes guns, medals, letters, posters and historic uniforms. And he does his homework.

The museum's not a high maintenance area, they just need someone here, he said. I do my homework. When people come through, I hand out brochures, talk to people, walk them around. I love sharing about the history of the military. I think it's fascinating and I like to share that.

Inlow said Brown's enthusiasm and dedication made him invaluable as a volunteer.

He's definitely our most active. He spends a lot of time and he really wants to educate the public about what we've got to offer.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to — p.m. Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday. Admission is free but donations are accepted. For more information, call 826-2111, Ext 3674.

Jerry Brown, 39, volunteers about 30 hours a week at the Camp White Military Museum, in addition to raising a family and attending Rogue Community College full time. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven