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Veterans History Project: Illinois court reporters honor veterans’ service

The Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois State Library in Springfield held an event in support of the Veterans History Project at the Adams County Courthouse and the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy, Ill., on March 26, 2014. Eight Judicial Circuit Official Court Reporters and one freelance reporter volunteered their time to transcribe the interviews of 21 veterans.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many responses there were for the first event. Probably the most exciting of all interviews was that of Raymond Barnes. A World War II veteran, Barnes is also the grandfather of our newest reporter, Shannon Barnes Niekamp, who transcribed his history. When I asked Barnes why he participated in the event, he said that it was because his granddaughter had asked him, and he would do anything for her.

The flags displayed on the Adams County Courthouse lawn were donated by courthouse employees in honor and in memory of loved ones who had served in the military. There were 31 flags on display, and it made for a very patriotic day.

The volunteers were Jane Borrowman, RMR, CRR, of Pittsfield, Ill.; Rita Corson, RMR, CRR, of Macomb, Ill.; Kent Evans, RPR, of Quincy, Ill.; Kathy Genenbacher of Quincy, Ill.; Shannon Niekamp of Quincy, Ill; June Otte, RPR, of Quincy, Ill.; Lori Peters of Quincy, Ill.; Cindy Waibel, RMR, of Petersburg, Ill.; and me. Throughout the event, official court reporter Rachel Boylen of Mt. Sterling, Ill., photographed uniforms, medals, and maps, and she scanned pictures for the veterans at the courthouse. All items brought to the project were digitally preserved for their historical value.

All local news outlets covered the event, and attorneys from the Adams County Bar Association donated their time as interviewers for the event.

Next, the Illinois State Library will host a VHP Day on May 28, 2014.


Linda Snyder, RMR, is an official court reporter from Quincy, Ill. She can be reached at

The Illinois State Library is a partner in NCRF’s Oral Histories Program.