In each issue of Voices, we've introduced you to one of our volunteers so that you have an opportunity to get to know these folks who work so hard, without any funding or compensation, to make KanColl what it is. Since this issue is about "new beginnings," we are for the first time introducing you to one of our contributors -- folks who are just as important to us as our volunteers. (Truth to tell, one thing seems to lead to another -- our contributors have a way of turning into volunteers, and vice versa!)
Dick Belt certainly qualifies as a contributor. A few years ago, Dick contacted us about Homer White, a historian in Lane, Kansas. Dick thought we might be able to talk with Homer and glean some information about Kansas history. Unfortunately, Mr. White became very ill before this was possible and then passed on. But thanks to Dick and the folks at the Osawatomie Graphic newspaper, we were given the materials to put together a tribute in KanColl to this remarkable man, recognizing his dedication to preserving Kansas history and his eagerness to help anyone in his community.
We discovered that this would just be the beginning. Since then, Dick has both contributed material himself and facilitated contributions from others. In this issue, you'll find a photograph from Florence Betz and Faith James, as well as a story from Faith, which were contributed to us as a result of Dick's suggestion that these would be good additions to KanColl. "Bus Cornelius' Lane, Kansas History" is a direct result of Dick putting us in touch with Bus. And Dick himself gave us the witty poem "Nick-Names of Lane, Kansas" by Dolly Belt.
You probably will not be surprised to learn that Dick was raised in the Lane community. He attended Christian Ridge, Lane High School, and the University of Kansas. (Yes, the photograph of Christian Ridge was contributed by Dick!) He then pursued an engineering career with the Army Research and Development Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Dick notes that he is an avid user of email and says, "Mother's knowledge of local history didn't rub off on me. [Dolly Belt was very active in preserving local history, and Homer White credited her with inspiring his interest in Kansas history.] My KanColl effort is a way to offset my earlier lack of interest in local history."
You can look forward to more contributions from or arranged by Dick in the future, thanks to his continued support. Stay tuned!