Inside The Gates: An Intern's Story

By Steve Long , Crispin Havener

Published 05/29 2014 10:47PM

Updated 05/29 2014 10:53PM

Dale Heiser has spent ten years serving his country.

"I went to Afghanistan when Iowa had their biggest deployment in 2010," Heiser says.

But an injury overseas forced him to come back to the states.
"I fell down a mountain and I kind of braced myself and I'm assuming it kind of jacked up, but my whole left shoulder was injured quite badly," Heiser says.

Two surgeries later, and more to come down the road, Heiser now finds himself back home in the Quad Cities, doing something a little different.

"Sometimes I'll come in and go through old photos and try to identify what they are, try to categorize them either like an event or the command staff that used to be here."

Heiser is an intern at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum, a position that was hard to imagine, working as a military policeman in the hills of Afghanistan.

Heiser says, "To tell you the truth, I was never always that great in history.  Didn't have a whole lot of interest.  but when I got here and started looking through the pictures and everything, I was amazed on the background of the Rock Island Arsenal.  It was incredible."

Even more incredible, out of the thousands of photos in the museum archives, Heiser came across a familiar face.

"You know, one of the funniest things, my very first day here, I was going through some pictures and I found a picture of my dad back in 1982 when he was a police officer and he was covering the gates," Heiser says.

Heiser's finished with his internship now, and looking toward the future.  He'll follow in his father's footsteps, and serve as a police officer at the Rock Island Arsenal.

And when we asked how his shoulder injury would affect his future? He says it's only about 80% of what it was before, but he can still use it. 

"It's not really going to keep me down," Heiser says.

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