Local 4 News is celebrating local veterans and what they’ve done for the country.
Today we focus on Robert Fitts.
The Korean War Veteran created something special in Rock Island
His hobby of collecting memorabilia and artifacts in his garage is now a museum that’s becoming a destination in the Quad Cities.
Follow Korean War Veteran Robert Fitts through his garage. and the hands of time begin to slowly go in reverse.
“You never forget. It stays with you forever,” says Fitts.
Inside what looks like a garage has been transformed into a veteran’s museum.
Fitts says, “I was on the national board in Washington D.C, and we were trying to figure out how to honor veterans.”
That’s when the idea was born.
“We had some guys here and we were talking and they were looking at my garage. They said Bob we can do it there. So that’s why we put this together to honor them,” says Fitts.
They started collecting memories for about six months
“We began collecting information on the war and this is what we come up with,” says Fitts.
The 90-year-old war vet recalls when he has was just 20 years old when he left out for the Korean war, known as the forgotten war.
Fitts says he remembers that experience clearly.
“They put us on the firing line, and gave us M1 grands, and we were firing. I fired 8 shots,” says Fitts.
During his two years of service in the army, Fitts main duty was to assist with the military vehicles, as he moved up in rank to Motor Sargent.
“13 jeeps, half a dozen 3 quarter tons, and 5,6, or 9 3 1/2 ton trucks. I jumped from Corporal to Staff Sargent. Now you don’t get to that very often,” says Fitts.
What does happen often is Fitts remembering fond memories of the war.
He says he wanted to collect stories, and items from veterans to prevent the Korean war from becoming a ‘truly forgotten war.’
Although millions of American service members were involved the veterans of that war are now disappearing.
“Back when we started here in Rock Island having meetings for the Korean War Veterans for breakfast we would have 30-40 people. Today we’re down to two or three. We lost a lot of them.
That’s the reason Fitts wants all veterans to get the ‘Thank You’ they deserve at his museum.
“All I’ve done for the veterans is because I love them,” says Fitts.” Most veterans are the most real people you’ve ever met. That’s what I like, real people.”
You can find the museum at 2511 22nd Avenue in Rock Island.
If you are interested in visiting you can email Fitts at email@example.com.