Steve Livingston

WW II and Korean War Living Historian

You're one of the members of the Smoky Mountain Military Vehicle Club (SMMVC) who's taking a vintage Jeep for an appearance at the InterFaith Health Clinic M*A*S*H Bash fundraiser on May 17. Where'd you get it?

After my father and my wife's father died several years ago, we wanted to remember them by honoring the Greatest Generation. Plus, we had always wanted an old Jeep. We found this one, from 1944, in Roswell, N.M. I've been restoring it for four years now. It is marked the same as my father's 172d Combat Engineer Battalion of WWII.

And your family will be at the event in vintage uniforms, as part of your living historians group?

Yes. Each of us tries to pick someone who actually served during that period and have impressions and paperwork based on him or her. Mine, of course, is my father. My wife Karen's is a woman who served as a WAC. My 16-year-old daughter Morgan is a USMCWR or Red Cross worker and her twin Caitlin is also a WAC or WASP.

How do you choose appearances?

We appear only when invited and it must be to honor veterans or the home-front civilians. The vehicles through the SMMVC are also available for numerous functions such as parades, and they date from 1941 to early 1980s and come in all sizes.

What's the most fun you've had?

A couple of years ago, Karen was in her WAC uniform and a lady asked her to have a photo taken with her father, a WWII Vet. Karen knelt down beside the gentleman in his wheel chair and he whispered in her ear, "Now, we won't tell Ma Maw about this, will we?"

What's the wildest thing that's ever happened?

My Jeep, Gerty, decided it did not like the slower-than-a-snail pace at the July 4 midnight Gatlinburg Parade so it started bucking and trying to die. I decided to bug out before I snarled the traffic. However, I still had to go back over the Gatlinburg overpass to get home. It was not a pleasant ride at 1:00 a.m., loaded with the family, barely pushing 5 miles an hour, over the mountains, hardly any lights, and traffic backing up for miles!