Ted Dudra is a re-enactor of four wars spanning 200 years of American history.
This month is all about the Civil War.
On Saturday, he joined about 25 other members of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in an encampment at the Perkins Stone Mansion and John Brown House in Akron. Later this month, he will join thousands of re-enactors a few days before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
A Green resident, Dudra, 62, is retired from teaching science in Plain schools in Stark County and now works with home-schoolers in the Christian Home Educators Cooperative in Akron.
He answered a few questions about his pastime.
Q: How did you get involved in the 29th OVI?
A: I love history at all levels, from my family, to local, county state and national, so this was easy for me to become involved as a hands-on historian. I am now also re-enacting the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and World War II.
Q: What is it about being a re-enactor that turns you on?
A: I am most enthused about becoming immersed in the time era by the hands-on experiences I have and then sharing my knowledge by educating those who are intrigued with the history I am portraying.
Q: What have you learned from being a re-enactor?
A: I have learned by being able to use all five senses, those experiences that a person would have been living through during their time in history.
Q: How will you remember the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg?
A: Our group, the 29th OVI, represents the actual soldiers that would have been in the war from the Akron area. The 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg battle will be taking place near the actual battle sites of 1863, and we will be remembering what they did on Culp’s Hill, walking in their footsteps of that battle. There are 10,000 pre-registered soldiers that will be re-enacting with us for that three-day battle.
Q: What will you be doing at Gettysburg?
A: We will arrive the last weekend in June, living there from Thursday, June 27, returning home Monday, July 1. We will be living as Civil War soldiers did, marching, drilling and fighting — re-enacting the actual battles that took place ... representing the men of the Akron area who went to war with the 29th OVI.
Q: Why is it important to have groups around like the 29th OVI?
A: For our group, the 29th OVI, it is important to commemorate the boys from Akron who left their homes, farms and shops to enlist in the Army to reunite the country. The war took over 630,000 lives and almost five years to accomplish that.
Q: Was there anything special your group did Saturday (June 15)?
A: It was a gathering of friends at Mrs. Grace Perkins’ house. She was the sister of Gov. David Tod. Several persons of historical local interest were on hand as well as soldiers home on leave, drilling and practicing their musketry.
Q: Do you make your own uniforms?
A: Many of us make some of our uniforms and civilian clothing and accessories, but most are purchased.
Q: How can someone join the group and become a re-enactor?
A: Our group continually asks those interested in joining the group as soldiers, civilians or as young people, to be recruited by contacting anyone in the group.
Contact Dudra at email@example.com or 330-896-9063.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.