#HomeGrownStories – Mitch Fogel

October 17, 2017

Miami County native Mitch Fogle served in the US Navy for twenty-two years. In 2005, Mitch and his wife, Earline, moved back to Miami County. Mitch has worked as a maintenance supervisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, the Troy-Miami County Library and the Miami Valley Veterans Museum. In 2015, he became the director of the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, which is located on the second floor of the Masonic Lodge in downtown Troy. The museum will be open November 10th and 11th for tours and to celebrate Veterans Day weekend.

On his connection to Miami County:
I was born December 27th, 1949 at Stouder Hospital in Troy. I graduated from Milton Union High School in 1969 and left for the U.S. Navy on August 26th, 1969. I served two years and came back home to West Milton. I met my wife Earline in 1972 and in 1973 we were married. I reenlisted in the US Navy in 1974 and we moved out of Miami County and headed to Norfolk, Virginia.

My Grandpa and Grandma Fogle were raised in Miami County in the late 1800s. My grandmother spent most of her life in the Children’s Home outside of Troy. My grandpa was a farmer and lived in West Milton. He had one of the first threshing machines in the area. He and his farm hands did custom baling in Miami and Darke counties.

I never thought my wife and I would move back to Miami County. We enjoyed living at the various duty stations. But in 2005 we decided we wanted to move back home.

On his service in the Navy:
Navy life is not an easy one. There are many qualifications and training you must meet. Your work schedule aboard a ship is somewhere between 60 to 70 hours a week. It also depends on how many duty sections you’re in. The food was not very good when I was in! I served on seven ships (one of them twice). Due to deployments, I was at sea and away from my family from 6 to 12 months at a time. I retired in 1994 after 22 years as a Chief (E7). After retirement, we stayed in Summerville, South Carolina for another 11 years.

On the founding of the Miami Valley Veterans Museum:
There were two people who founded the Miami Valley Veterans Museum: Steven Larck and Ray Snap. Both men had a vision and believed Troy needed a veterans museum. In 2010, the museum started out at the old Stouder Hospital for the first year. In the summer of 2011, we moved to our current location on the second floor of the Masonic Temple in Troy. We have made some great strides in improving and expanding the museum. The staff is all volunteer. They have done an outstanding job keeping the museum operating on a budget.

On his involvement with the Miami Valley Veterans Museum and life after the Navy:
I started volunteering at the museum in 2010 doing facility work. I was in charge of all the renovations when we moved up here in 2011. Then they made me a trustee. Then they asked if I would be the director, which was a new position, and I said yes. That was in 2015.

I am also the facility supervisor of the library. I take care of the Main Library, the Troy History Library, and the Pleasant Hill Library. I’m pretty busy, which is nice. When I retired from the Navy I started off with little jobs here and there. You just try to grab something to keep you busy. Then I got more into maintenance.  I worked as a maintenance supervisor at a hospital in Charleston. Later I went to work as a contractor for the US Border Patrol Academy. That was in Charleston at that time. They have a maintenance contract with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I became the maintenance supervisor of that facility as a government contractor.

After we moved back to Ohio I got a job a Troy-Hayner Cultural Center as their maintenance supervisor. I worked there for six years and then retired. Took a few years to relax and decided it was time for another part-time job. The library offered me a job and I’m jumped on that. I have no regrets. Great job, great people.

On the Miami Valley Veterans Museum today:
We offer a lot of history related to the people who have donated to the museum. People bring us artifacts from family members who have passed. We try to get a background on the history of the artifact. That information goes into our computer system here as well. There’s a lot of stories behind the uniforms and the other artifacts. When people come up here with their families they’re surprised by how big the museum is – but they love it. We have a very nice museum, especially for a small town like Troy.

Our Donut and Coffee Breakfast started around 2012. It’s really grown. We started out with 25 to 30 veterans on a Wednesday morning. Now we regularly have between 60 and 80 people. The veterans look forward to coming up here and sharing stories with each other. We always have a guest speaker and they look forward to that as well. Most of the veterans are local, but we do have veterans come from Champaign and Darke County.

Upcoming events at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum:
On November 1st, Piqua- Lewis Boyer Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution will be serving veterans a breakfast at our monthly Donut and Coffee Breakfast. A quilting group from Piqua, organized by Jane Web, will be present as well. They will be giving quilts to our World War II and Korean War Veterans.

At 7pm on November 9th at the Mayflower Art Center our curator, Terry Purke, will be doing a presentation about History in a Box. We have 5 boxes covering five major eras in American history. We had a grant through the Duke Foundation which paid for an intern from Wright State University. The intern built the 5 wooden boxes and worked on the design of the interior of each box along with the curator. This project started back in December of 2016 and will be completed this month. We will be open November 10th and 11th for tours of the museum and to celebrate Veterans Day weekend. In December we will have our monthly Donut and Coffee breakfast. It is on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 9 a.m. in the dining hall at the Museum.

On the community response to the Miami Valley Veterans Museum:
The community has been very supportive. Visitors to the museum are surprised by its size and the number of artifacts we have on display.

What he loves most about Miami County:
When I think of Miami County I think of the farms and fields of crops that we have in abundance. I love the farmland and all the animals.

Miami County inspires me with how welcoming it is to its people who come from diverse backgrounds. There is also always something to do!

His recommendations for out-of-town visitors to Miami County:
Out-of-town visitors need to first check out the Miami Valley Veterans Museum! Then visit the Museum of Troy History and Overfield Museum. Be sure to check out the WACO Air Museum and the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center as well as Brukner Nature Center. My favorite restaurants are K’s Hamburger Shop, The Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company, and Smith’s Boathouse. The Boathouse has excellent seafood, steaks and the French onion soup is superb!

Miami Valley Veterans Museum
107 West Main Street Troy, Ohio 45373
Facebook: @miamivalleyveteransmuseum

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