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Local vets' new mission: guard artifacts at Allentown armory

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 26 2013 05:18:56 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 26 2013 06:19:36 PM CST

Some local vets have found a new mission and it's off the battlefield.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Some local vets have found a new mission and it's off the battlefield. They're the caretakers of an extensive collection of military artifacts.

From bugles to bazooka's to Pepsi cans, that may or may not say Pepsi, to the biggest set of binoculars you'll ever set your eyes in.

The military artifacts are on public display inside the Allen Street Allentown National Guard Armory.

"As you can see we have uniforms dating back to the first World War," Mike Vidumsky said.

Each item tells the story of the 213th Regiment, Pennsylvania's Volunteer Infrantry.

"We actually go back to the whiskey rebellion and General Washington," Vidumsky went on to say.

During the Civil War President Lincoln dubbed them the first defenders after answering the call to defend the capital.

150 years later, with no doubt similar military precision, a platoon of 8 march into the museum, for a weekly Tuesday mission.

Desert War Veteran John Yanno, 61, the baby of the group, is in charge of cleaning.

While 85-year-old Korean War Vet Donald Romig catalogues the collection.

"Thousand of items we have to keep track of, which I put on a the computer," Romig explained.

The Items like a bullet ridden flag from U.S.-Mexican War are all donated. Vidumsky is the museum's curator.

"People come in and look around and say my father has some stuff from the second World War. We say bring it in, we'll be glad to display it." Vidumsky explained.

But for these men the museum is more than memories.

"I always look forward to it because it keeps us together. These are the people I served with and get to stay with," Romig stated.

"Some of these soldiers I've known for years, so it's nice to have that relationship again, that we had 20 years," Yanno added.

The men of the 213th, preserving the past, while cherishing the present.