Steve Mockler, head of David D. Porter Camp 116 is a fan of the history of Valparaiso. For Mockler, each historic building, artifact, and object present a rich backstory to Valparaiso that provides a never-ending source of wonder and amazement.
"I've been a resident of Valparaiso for about 9 years," says Mockler. "What I love the most about Valparaiso the most is the community pulling together for different things. The downtown has really come together and it's always great to see people get together and seem so happy with one another."
While Mockler holds an interest in all kinds of history, it is the Civil War that has always held the strongest hold on him.
"My father was always interested in the history and background of the Civil War," says Mockler. "It's because of this I have always had an interest in the Civil War as well. Those soldiers who served weren't just soldiers. Many of them came back to Valparaiso not only to settle down after the war but to help shape Valparaiso and Porter County as it is today."
Mockler currently heads the David D. Porter Camp 116 whose duties include restoring, preserving and saving old gravestones of fallen Civil War veterans. For Mockler, this comes from not only his passion but others from the community as well as it is a truly collaborative effort.
"We have help and are able to do our extensive research through so many people in Valparaiso," says Mockler. "We work with people from the public library as well as the Porter County History Museum. Everytime I look into something or talk to someone, I am reminded that there is so much history out there that people aren't aware of and that is what our mission is, to bring some of that history back."
For Mockler his mission as well as other members of the David D. Porter camp, having the opportunity to share this often forgotten history of Valparaiso and Porter County with both leaders and members of the community.
"Our goal, in the end, is to always get as much history and information out to the public as possible," says Mockler. "This includes community leaders and the public. 'We want them and everyone else to know that these people from the past who contributed so much to this area are not and will not be forgotten. In many cases, we have to look to the past in order to understand our future."