Living History Volunteers Lose Their Founder Labor Day Weekend

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This weekend's annual Living History event at Fort Kearny is remembering more than just the soldiers who fought during the Civil War. Participants honor the passing of the event's founder.

Paul Hendrickson started the Fort Kearny Civil War reenactments 26 years ago.

His friend of 40 years says although he's gone, they will not only continue with Living History, but spread the legacy of their founder and true friend.

The cannons fired just after learning of the passing of a man they call a leader.

"To the younger kids Paul was a grandpa, to the rest of us he was a leader," said Sergeant Jerry Geronewald.

Volunteers put on Living History three times a year to show the public what it was like for Civil War soldiers in the 1800s.

"If you learn about the past it could better prepare you for the future," said volunteer Corey Hunt.

Hendrickson started it 26 years ago.

"Paul was a leader in the community, a leader in this event, and he will truly be missed," Geronewald said.

Volunteers say they got word that their friend had passed away just before firing the cannons.

They say his health had been declining in the last couple years.

"We would have coffee together at 8 o'clock in the mornings so today is the first day we didn't have coffee," Geronewald said.

They say he would come to the event every year but didn't take many pictures.

"Since he passed we will be carrying on his memory just as we carry on the Civil War members," Hunt said.

Volunteers say this weekend they will sit by the campfire and tell stories of Hendrickson's life.

"Even though Paul's not going to be here, he's going to be here in spirit," Geronewald said.

Organizers say Hendrickson's son will continue running the Living History events.

Friends say he was about 79 years old.

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