“This is what I do because I enjoy doing it – ‘Do what you love’ – I enjoy the hell out of it. I really do. It feeds me emotionally.” This is the response of Michael Case when he was told why he was going to be recognized as one of Elkhart County’s Vibrant People. He added: “It’s sort of like, ‘Why are you congratulating me for doing what I love?’”
Well, Mr. Case, it’s like this: Many people think you are interesting, helpful, active in the community and good to know. After talking with you, we can see why they feel that way.
“I remember when I got my first interest in history when my family took a vacation and saw Antietam battlefield in Maryland when I was about 10,” Michael tells us. “Ever since then, history has been my thing.”
Michael is a volunteer at the Elkhart County Historical Museum. He started there just a year and a half ago and has already logged over 1,000 volunteer hours. He started a recurring social media installment called “Throwback Thursdays with Michael.” It highlights news stories and historical photographs juxtaposed with current pictures of the same sites. It is by far the most popular feature on the Historical Museum’s social media and creates a lot of community engagement.
One of Michael’s favorite things at the Museum would hardly seem worth noticing by most people. It is a collection of wood shavings. They were picked up from under her father’s lathe by a young girl when he was building their house in the late 1800s. The girl saved them and eventually they were donated to the museum. Michael says, “She thought they were pretty and looked like curls.” He adds: “It is so cool to reach back and feel the wonder of a little girl watching her dad build a house.”
In addition to his volunteer work at the museum, Michael has been involved with the Elkhart Civic Theatre since 1984. He has performed in about 50 shows so far, including “The Glass Menagerie” and “The Diary of Anne Frank”. His favorite part was Ernest as in “The Importance of Being Ernest”, Oscar Wilde’s classic satire.
Michael was raised in Elkhart. He went to Concord High School and, after graduating, spent time in the U.S. Air Force. He thought about moving elsewhere when his time in the service was over, but, in the end, he came home. “It’s a good place and I think it can be a better place,” he says. “I’m where I am supposed to be.
Michael is where he should be and doing things he loves to do. That sounds a formula for being one of Elkhart County’s Vibrant People and he is. Enjoy your day, Michael.