Kirsten Dickhut turned her love for this country into quite the collection.
She began her military career after joining the Army in 1994 after visiting her older sister and brother-in-law who were stationed in Germany.
“My experience with that was pretty fascinated by it. I had never seen anything like it and I really enjoyed it, and that was how I got kind of started with my interest in it,” explained Dickhut.
She served for five years in Germany doing environmental consulting test work and even got the opportunity to work for NATO.
“I had two different jobs. My first job is actually testing soil and groundwater at contaminated sites. And cleaning that up so that it wouldn’t affect the groundwater, which was the major source of drinking water for Germany,” shared Dickhut.
Dickhut retired from active duty in 1999 as a captain and went into the Army Reserves for three years. But it was her family that led her to the decision to walk away completely.
“It was sad to leave. It was hard to leave. I tried to stay in the Individual Ready Reserve for years. But then they were going to call me after the war on terror began and you know, I was pregnant with my fourth child. And I said I had to make a choice,” said Dickhut.
Toward the end of her eight years of service, Dickhut inherited an American flag from her mother that belonged to her great-grandfather — which sparked her interest in collecting military memorabilia.
“Later on when I acquired the rest of my mother’s memorabilia, it turns out that I come from a long line of military people and wasn’t even aware of it till after you know I was even out of the military,” shared Dickhut.
After her mother and grandmother both passed away she inherited items from all throughout American history.
“There were belt buckles from World War II and I even have medals from the Civil War,” explained Dickhut.
In her words, she is only a little piece of the puzzle and like any other veteran, she is passionate about her country.
Three of Dickhut’s children are carrying the family tradition by serving in the military: Two that are part of the Air Force and one who is in the Army National Guard.