When you retire, you have two choices: live for yourself or live for others. Michele Cole chose the latter. A former Blue Springs School District teacher, Cole has recently made a name for herself behind the scenes at the Blue Springs Historical Society for her technological work – specifically the effort to save the Chicago & Alton Train Depot downtown. The means by which groups communicate are just as – if not more so – important than the message itself. So Cole has become the society’s official video chronicler, and she’s loving every minute of it.

When you retire, you have two choices: live for yourself or live for others. Michele Cole chose the latter. A former Blue Springs School District teacher, Cole has recently made a name for herself behind the scenes at the Blue Springs Historical Society for her technological work – specifically the effort to save the Chicago & Alton Train Depot downtown. The means by which groups communicate are just as – if not more so – important than the message itself. So Cole has become the society’s official video chronicler, and she’s loving every minute of it.

 

ABOUT MICHELE COLE
Name:  Michele Cole
Age: 59
Residence: Cortland Drive, Blue Springs
Profession: Retired educator (high school business and technology for 23 years with Blue Springs School District)
Other volunteer work: Consultant to Blue Springs School District TV Comcast Educational Channel 15


1) Where do you volunteer in Blue Springs, and how did you get involved?
I became a board member with the Blue Springs Historical Society just this last spring.  I have only been retired from the Blue Springs School District since June of 2010, so it took me awhile to find something that piqued my interest. My husband’s grandmother’s grandfather was Morgan Dillingham who built the museum, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I intended to just help with the Heritage Garden, but I quickly realized that they could use my help in other ways as well, such as keeping the website updated, creating a Facebook page to communicate with the community, and creating videos to post on both sites. I taught video production for a number of years at Blue Springs South HS.

2) What is your role in the recent effort to save the historic depot?
In addition to documenting the condition of the building (through pictures and video) in order to acquire bids to move the structure, I assisted in organizing the rally last month to raise community awareness of KCSR plans to demolish the old depot.  Now that they have given us some time, the big task is to raise funds for moving and restoration, which we are in process of organizing, and then to find a suitable location for the depot. We are also working with a group in Branson, specifically the Sons of the Pioneers whose lead singer, Randy Rudd, went to school in Blue Springs, and they want to hold a benefit show here in Blue Springs sometime in October, so watch for information concerning that event.

3) Have you ever been involved in such an effort as Save Our Depot?
Not really, but my husband’s family is also connected to the Rice-Tremonti Historic Home in Raytown, so I was familiar with saving historic treasures in our community, and I like history almost as much as I like computers!

4) Can others join the effort, and how do they do so?
We are currently meeting several times a month to keep the interest growing.  Patrons tried 10 years ago to save the depot, but never followed through. We hope to spread the word throughout the community, and we invite anyone who would like to become involved to log on to our web site or Facebook page where we will post meeting dates and fundraising activities.  (www.bluespringshistory.org and  onfb.me/bshistory )

5) Why is it important to volunteer in the community?
Everyone has a different reason for volunteering in their community. Some like the friendships that they develop, some just like to get out of the house – like my 80 year old father who still works with Habitat for Humanity every week – and some just realize that there is a need to offer their talents to make their community a better place. I think once you find out that you can make a difference by giving a little of your time, it becomes important to you.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT COLE:
Mary Potter, president of the Blue Springs Historical Society
“She’s fantastic. She does the tasks and steps up to the plate. She’s capable of doing many things. No matter what I ask her to do she can do it.”