D-Day Conneaut began in 1999 when a small group of reenactors set out to "relive the day" of the Normandy invasion the beach at Conneaut Park. Initially, this was not a public event, though park visitors had the opportunity to watch the reenactment from the bluff overlooking the beach. Today D-Day Ohio's all volunteer staff works year around to make D-Day Conneaut the largest and most historically accurate D-Day Living History Reenactment in the country. Thank you to all our reenactors and volonteers that work so hard to make this event possible.
A 25 year plus veteran of living history, Betsy has actively participated in event management for over 60 various living history events and is a frequent speaker at early 19th century living history conferences. Betsy has assisted with D-Day Conneaut since 2006. Captivated by the heroism of combat photographers in WWII and the impact of photography and motion picture art on the war effort, she recreates a WWII era photo lab at several events. Also interested in women's contributions in warfare, she frequently portrays a US army nurse.
Owner/Operator of Biscotti's Restaurant, Conneaut, OH. As a supporter of the event since its inception, Lori has seen it evolve into the premier reenactment it is today. In 2009, she responded to a request for more local support and has since been managing an energetic group of local supporters involved in fundraising, marketing, procurement of goods, living history displays, and other various volunteer tasks needed by the organization. Having lived in Conneaut her entire life, she is a self-proclaimed cheerleader for the city and is involved with many community organizations serving on several local boards. Her community service was recently rewarded by being voted the Chamber of Commerce 2010 Citizen of the Year.
Jennifer Palagyi is the franchisee owner of H & R Block in Conneaut for the past 16 years and has been doing taxes for 22 years. She has joined D-Day and will help support the financial management of the organization. We have three additional volunteers who will assist in general or specifically with finance items (Chris Heim -- direct donations, David Owens - grants, and Anne O'Dae - TBD) along with Patti Rowbotham who has been helping with the records management.
Deb comes from a long line of history enthusiasts and when she attended D-Day Conneaut as a young girl in the early 2000’s, she knew she’d found her niche. The event became a yearly staple activity for her and her family until finally in 2012 the desire to become a part of it drove her to purchase her first original Army Nurse Corp uniform and volunteer in an effort to help the event grow in any way she could. Since then she has helped in almost every aspect of its massive undertaking, and even though she attends many other WWII events throughout the year, her first love has always remained D-Day Conneaut. Her impressions now include Army Nurse Corp (ANC), United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (USMCWR), Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) , French Resistance combatant, civilian and USO entertainer.
Dan has been re-enacting since 2006 with the 1st SS Living history association. He joined the D-Day Ohio planning committee after the 2009 event. Dan will aid in assuring accuracy for Axis living history and authenticity of the camp and battles as well as being the direct point of contact for all Axis forces.
Wayne Heim joined D-Day Conneaut in 2009 and currently serves on the Board of Governors and involved with may different aspects of the event. Wayne is a certified medical illustrator and photographer with many years of experience in the advertising and marketing field. Wayne currently maintains the D-Day Ohio website, is our Primary PR contact, and is involved in coordination the production of the promotional materials for D-Day Conneaut and is one of the artists that produce the many art pieces. Wayne also manages and serves as one of our Event Photographers and can be found in the Media Tent or wandering the grounds with camera(s) in hand. Please contact Wayne with any media, photography or PR questions.
John Karapelou joined D-Day Conneaut in 2009 and is currently Director of Sets and Props, leading teams of volunteers tasked with augmenting the authentic historical appearance of the event and enhancing the immersive experience for re-enactors and visitors alike. He is responsible for the design, construction and erection of sets and props on the event site. John is a professional illustrator and designer who also has a background in community theater acting and set design. He serves many roles in the organization and currently is on the D-Day Ohio Board of Directors, is a member of the Marketing and PR committee serving as a graphic designer, illustrator and copywriter, and is one of the original event staff photographers. John coordinates his sets and props teams during the event in the Operations Center.
Reenacting since 2003, Eric's focus at D-Day Conneaut lies in remembering his great uncle, Amin Isbir, killed on June 6, 1944 while serving with the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. Amin's story, as well as additional family members, can be found on Montgomery's web site at www.soldiersandsailors.us. Eric was the keynote speaker at thee National D-Day Memorial in Bedford Virginia on June 6th, 2012. He also designs our D-Day Conneaut Challenge Coins, promotional videos and is involved with a number of other fund raising activities. During the event you can reach Eric at the Naval Beach Battalion Bunker or in the Veterans Hospitality Tent.
Bio to follow.
Bio to follow.
Patti is a Conneaut native who lived in Trumbull County for 30 years and returned to town in 2008. She began work with the committee in 2010, working at registration and information booth, taking minutes for meetings, distributing literature and doing record keeping tasks. She enjoys history and research and has researched and written some of the material displayed on the historical boards in the park She has served as a Coordinator of Gifted Education, church day camp director, substitute teacher, and graduate assistant at Youngstown State and Kent State Universities. Her mother worked at Indiantown Gap, PA, as a civilian employee and it is there that she met Patti's father before he left for the South Pacific.
Jeff King began serving as a volunteer for D-Day Conneaut in 2010 as a member of Civil Air Patrol. Over the years he has served in various roles coordinating the volunteers for the event, specifically with the youth groups. His team serves to support the re-enactment and the re-enactors for this event honoring those who have served. The website to register your group is http://ddayvolunteers.com. Contact information: email@example.com
Brittany has spent her life embracing history. Her love of the WWII era was sparked by her research of her grandfather's service in the United States Navy as he served as a Chief Petty Officer on the USS Yorktown. She began reenacting with the help of a 4-H Shooting Sports Project titled Living History. The project was designed to help children "become a person" from a time period of their choice, then research the character to develop a personal story, assemble a costume and develop their skill. In 2004, she chose to recreate a WWII War Correspondent impression. Over the last few years she has expanded her impressions into portraying a WAVE and a member of the Nursing Corps.
David's bio to follow shortly.
Chris has been involved in some fashion in D-Day Conneaut since 2013 and most recently as secretary to the Board of Governors meetings. Chris's primary responsibility is to assist veterans and their families in registering and participating in our Veteran's Hospitality services. Besides her time spent each year at the event, Chris also serves as our Donor Recognition Coordinator and board secretary.
Communications and Safety Coordinator
Jack joined D-DAY Ohio for the 2013 event. He has lived most of his life in Northeast Ohio and parts of his family were life-long Conneaut residents. He is no stranger to Radio Communications and Public Safety. He started out as an Amateur Radio operator at the age of 10. His hobby turned into his career right out of High School as a Technician for a Motorola Service shop working in the Public Safety Field. He has spent the last 20 years in the communications industry. He is currently a Field Engineer for Ericsson Services. Jack is also the Radio Officer for the Conneaut Amateur Radio Club. He also volunteers his time as a Scout Leader in the area and as Youth Football Coach. In 2017 Jack has taken on the role of Public Safety and Security Coordinator along with Communications. For the D-DAY Ohio event, if you have questions about Communications or are with Public Safety or Local Government, Jack will be the person to contact.
Allied Camp Liaison
Krysta joined D-Day Conneaut to assist with the clerical duties of the organization. Her impression of Rosie the Riveter is a hallmark
symbol of the effect the war had upon the home front.
Allied Commander - Living History Coordinator
Rob is a 30+ year veteran of living history, both in a volunteer capacity and professionally. Rob has participated in Conneaut D-Day landings since 2002 and has served as a member of the event staff for 5. An avid researcher, Rob finds studying the narratives of WWII soldiers an enriching experience that provides a glimpse of the trials of the common GI. The written and personal perspectives of WWII veterans have helped him frame reenacted vignettes to better share their legacy with their families and communities. Rob is assisting in the restoration of PA 36-9, a Higgins boat located at Old Fort, OH.
Chief of Staff, First Army, United States Army
Scott is a 20+ year veteran of living history and has participated in Conneaut D-Day landings since 2004. For the past few years he has been the 1st Inf. Battalion Commander. Currently, Scott is the commander of Dog Co. 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st ID, but can be seen coordinating or commanding at various events throughout the year..Scott is a 20+ year veteran of living history and has participated in Conneaut D-Day landings since 2004. For the past few years he has been the 1st Inf. Battalion Commander. Currently, Scott is the commander of Dog Co. 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st ID, but can be seen coordinating or commanding at various events throughout the year.
ADC (Aide-de-Camp) - First Army Command
Diana Sluhan is a native of northwest Ohio. In 1984 she began volunteering as a costumed interpreter at Fort Meigs, a reconstructed War of 1812 fortification on the banks of the Maumee River in Perrysburg, OH. She was an active volunteer at the site through her college graduation from DePauw University with a BA in Biology and History. Diana moved to Washington, DC, where she has worked for the Department of the Interior and volunteered at Ft McHenry. After returning home to Ohio, she joined the Army National Guard and she commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer. She deployed as the Intel Officer (S-2) of a Cavalry Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. In 2010, she took command of a Forward Support Company, and deployed them in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. She has served as a Brigade Intel officer and as an Officer Candidate School instructor.
Shawn has been studying and collecting WWII items since about 1978. He was introduced to "uniformed living history" as an education tool in the mid-1990s as an Officer Candidate School company commander at Fort Benning. In 1998 he became a founding member and current board member of the Army Ground Forces Association (AGFA), specializing in historic preservation, restoration and interpretation at former US Army harbor defense installations. Shawn has over 30 years of military, and two decades of uniformed historic interpretation experience. During D-Day, he will be coordinating tracked combat vehicles and towed artillery that support the event.
Allied Armor Coordinator
Bio to follow.
US Airborne Commander
Brian's been attending the D-Day Ohio event since 2001.
He is a longtime living history enthusiast beginning in 1975 with the Bicentennial celebration.
Inspired by his Uncle Bud, who served in the 501st PIR from Normandy through the end of the war,
Brian focused his efforts and participation towards WWII reenacting in 2008. An amateur historian
and heavy reader of history, he enjoys the opportunity to meet and talk with Veterans.
Provisional Ranger Btn. Landing Team Commanding Officer
Steve has been involved in WW2 reenacting since 1999. He has been participating at D-Day Conneaut since 2001. His primary impression is the Commanding Officer of Dog Company 5th Ranger infantry Battalion. He is also involved in reenacting WW1 and The War of 1812.
1st ID Landing Team Commanding Officer
LT. Colonel Jim Pereira once again leads the prestigious 1st Division for the second straight year. He has now served the Big Red One's command staff for the last 5, DDay Ohio events. A long time reenactor, Jim is the commander of the famous 26th Infantry Division, Yankee Division. The 125 member organization, is the largest allied unit in New England. Jim is 30+ year high school teacher. Jim and his wife, Chrisy reside in Somerset, Massachusetts.
4th Division Landing Team Commander
A longtime history enthusiast and Northeast Ohio native, Michael had been attending D-Day Conneaut years before he was old enough to jump off a landing craft in 2009. As the commander of the 4th Engineer Combat Battalion (reenacted), Michael is proud to represent the 4th Infantry Division at the event each year. In addition to attending various WWII reenactments throughout the year, he enjoys spending time at the National Archives, bringing to light the 4th Division's wartime achievements.
Captain 29th DIV, 115th Regiment (US Command Staff)
29th ID Landing Team Commanding Officer
(Even number Years)
Point of Contact for all 29th attending.
Replacement Battalion VII Corps Landing Team Commander
Tom Schiffer re-joins the D-Day Ohio team again this year as the Replacement Battalion Commander. Tom is a four year Active Duty Army Veteran, and has been re-enacting WWII for almost 20 years. Tom has been doing living history since age 4 or 5 with his parents in the Kentucky Corps of Long-Riflemen. These days Tom's usual impression is that of an Infantry Line Company on the Italian Front. This is to honor his great uncle, John F. Schiffer, who in 1942 was drafted at age 39, and made the landing at Salerno, Italy with the 36th Infantry Division. Tom also has a more direct connection to Northern European Theatre as his wifeâ€™s uncle, Stanley Isaacs, was a paratrooper with the 17th Airborne Division. For D-Day Ohio Tom puts on a First Army Patch, assuming command of the Replacement Battalion. He has designated it the 191st Ordnance Battalion in honor of the thousands of non-divisional support troops who worked long hours under less than ideal conditions keeping the fighting men fed, equipped and supplied with ammunition. In addition to his duties as a commander, Tom also serves as the Mess Officer, coordinating the efforts of the cooks in the allied mess. When not reenacting, Tom works as a machinist, and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Army Air Corp - Dave Sajben
Dave is a veteran social studies teacher living in Charlotte North Carolina. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. Dave serves as the educational officer for the board of directors for the All Americans based in Charlotte. He is passionate about history education and outreach. His research and impression interests vary, but he often finds himself focusing on the Mediterranean Theater of Operation. He feels that the heroes of WWII aviation are not just those who climbed in the cockpit, but labored tirelessly on the ground at home and abroad to bring our air power to the enemy. You can find him in the Army Air Corp camp happily giving a briefing or going over a duty roster.
Allied Medic Coordinator
I have a been involved in WW2 Reenacting since 2005, with Conneaut D-Day being my first event. I am a retired career firefighter, serving 29 years in Fire/EMS with the City of Painesville Fire Division. I am still serving in Fire/EMS as a Lieutenant / Training Officer with the Grand River and Fairport Harbor Fire Departments. I have family ties to WW2. My father in law served in the U.S. Army in Battle for Manilla during the liberation of The Philippines. My father's cousin landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division. He was later killed in action in Germany in March of 1945. My Uncle Ed served in combat as a tank commander. in France and Germany with the 4th Armored Division. I am a member of the 83rd Infantry Division /329th I&R Reenactment Group.
1st Army S-6
Philip Budzinski has been reenacting since 1999, and has been passionate about history and World War 2 since a child. He started out with K Company, 16th Infantry Regiment (HRS); he has also portrayed 4th Armored working with the World War 2 Vehicle Museum and Learning Center of Hubbard Ohio, and is one of the founding members of 1st Signal Company. For Conneaut, he is coordinating the Signal Communications in the Allied.
Allied Provost Marshal
Been re-enacting for 18 years and have done multiple impressions including 508 PIR 82nd AB, 1st Infantry Division and now MP. I got into re-enacting because I have always been interested in the period from 1900-1950 and had four uncle's that served in WWII, including one KIA. I do MP because I thought it would be something different.
Allied Female Coordinator
Molly has been involved in living history since birth. She began reenacting WWII in 2009, with D-Day Conneaut being her first WWII event. In addition to her primary impression as CO of the 1st WAC Separate Battalion, Women's Army Corps, Molly also reenacts the American Revolution, and the War of 1812 , as well as leading instructor-training workshops for the the Ohio 4H Living History Project.
Emily has been involved in living history for over 20 years, participating in events around New England, PA, NY, OH and Canada. Her love for reenacting and historical fashions began with the 18th century with an emphasis on New England women and British camp followers during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. In recent years her research and living history impressions have focused on the WAVES and other home front contributions of women during WWII. She is also the blogger and seamstress behind Emily’s Vintage Visions.
Allied Vehicle Inspector
Don has been a WII reenactor since 2008 and is a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant where he served in Explosive Ordinance Disposal. Don began his love of reenacting doing Civil War reenacting. It was when he met his wife that he was introduced to the WWII reenacting hobby. Don brings a vast knowledge of vehicles to the event and has been restoring vehicles since he was 14 years old. Don is also very knowledgeable on vehicle safety, state and local vehicle laws, insurance requirements and vehicle operation as well as he serves as a vehicle safety\authenticity inspector for several WWII events in the Midwest.
Allied Chaplain Coordinator
John is a bi-vocational ordained minister and alarm technician who is also an endorsed chaplain in the area of living history and serves at numerous living history events in the Northeast. With a love for WWII history and ministry, chaplaincy is a natural way for him to bring the two passions together. John will be coordinating chaplains for various services throughout the event. Our chaplains are here to serve.
Allied D-day Conneaut Naval Flotilla
Allied D-day Conneaut Mess
D-day Conneaut Baseball Coordinator
Chief of Staff, 21st Army Group, Senior Commonwealth Commander
Lt. Colonel Harris has over 35 years of living history/re-enacting experience in various time periods and has supported D-Day Conneaut since 2003. For D-Day he portrays a staff officer, 21st Army group. The 21st Army Group was the command element for all British, Canadian, Polish and other British Crown dependent/supplied nations. John has commanded the Commonwealth Company since it's inception and has seen it grow from a few determined individuals to its present full sized company strength of over 100 rank and file.
Commonwealth Company Commander
Major Dan Copeland has been involved in living history/re-enacting since 1983 in various time periods and has supported D-Day Conneaut since 2012. For D-Day he portrays a Canadian officer, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. The Queen's Own Rifles was part of the 8th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. As the officer commanding the Commonwealth Company, Dan has elements of British, Canadian, Polish and all other British Crown dependent/supplied nations under his command. Dan assumed command of the company when Lt. Col. John Harris, the long standing company commander moved up to his staff officers position. Dan is actively involved in the Museum of Applied Military History in periods from 1776 to WW2. The primary goal of the Museum of Applied Military History is the Preservation and Demonstration of Canadian Military History.
7 (canadian) Platoon
Lieutenant Matthew Noel has been an active member of the living history community since 1992 (US Civil War, Rev War, WWII) and has specialized in representing the Canadian soldier c. 1939-45 since 1997. Matthew is the Deputy-Director of the Museum of Applied Military History and a founding member of the Canadian Army Overseas Living History Association. Between events he can usually be found reproducing period paperwork, labels and insignia or organizing the next event.
1st Battalion, Hampshire Reg't 50th Division
Lieutenant Stephen Keller has been involved in WW2 re-enacting since 1989. For D-Day, Stephen will be portraying a Platoon commander (LT) of the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regt. 50th DIV. He is the returning British platoon commander from last year.
Commonwealth Sergeant Major
Commonwealth Sergeant Major Graham Humphrey has over 8 years of Re-enacting experience in various time periods. For D-Day Conneaut he portrays The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada - Toronto Ontario, 8th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division.
Commonwealth Company Quarter Master
Commonwealth Company Quarter Master Graham Robertson has over 11 years of Re-enacting experience from various time periods. For D-Day he portrays The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada - Toronto Ontario, 8th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division. Graham is currently the Staff Sergeant of the First Special Service Force Living History Group, Ontario Section. "Das Dicke Ende Kommt Noch"
Brian is a 25+ year veteran reenactor who has served on multiple command staffs in different roles over many years. His love of history comes from a long line of military service of both his and his families.
German Headquarters Executive Officer
Rosey started reenacting at the age or 16 when he became a member of the Arizona Historical Association (AHA) in 1996. He as been attending D-Day for over 5 years now. Additionally, he is an elected officer to WWIIHA (1st Vice President) and is the Operations officer for FIG Battle Of the Bulge. As a member of the commemorative Air Force he was a qualified HE-111 Flight Engineer and B-17 loadmaster and a current member.
German Beach defense Commander
Rich has been involved in WW2 reenacting for over 20 years with 13 years experience at as unit commander. During this time has has had a large presence at the Battle of the Bulge reenactment at Fort Indiantown Gap as a German Battalion Commander (7 years) and as a member of the Board of Trustees. As a life long Historian, Rich has encountered many Veterns of all sides of this conflict and has learned many first hand accounts from these men where he incorporates it into his unit's training and philosophy. When Rich isn't working within the hobby, he is a business owner and loves to travel, and is a big football fan.
Bio to follow.
Waffen SS Commander
Dave has been participating in WWII reenacting for over 15 years and attends on average 8-10 events per year. He is the Commander of the 1st LSSAH reenactment unit and Chairman of the LAH Living History Association, Inc. When not actively reenacting or managing the LAH, he routinely travels to Germany, France and Switzerland on business related to Chemical Engineering in the food processing industry.
Bio to follow.
German Feldgendarmerie Coordinator
Bio to follow
Bio to follow
Medical and Safety Officer
Bio to follow
German Armor Coordinator
Bio to follow
Axis Sports and Activities Director
Born in Belleville Illinois in 1972. Chris entered the United States Marine Corps in 1992, & was a Heavy Machinegunner, Squad Leader, and Weapons/Close Combat Instructor. After his honorable discharge in 1998, Chris began a new career as a disc jockey. He began reenacting in 2008, and has been to over 35 events all over the United States.
French Resistance Coordinator
Adrian is a retired Social Studies teacher who began reenacting in 1989. Portraying an 18th century courier du bois, aka a French fur trader, at events, he enhanced his reenacting realism by traveling in a birch bark canoe in summer and by dog sled in winter. After witnessing the 2002 D-Day Conneaut event, Adrian returned the following year to portray a Maquisard of the French Resistance. His French ancestors settled in Boston in 1630. Later generations fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War. More recently his uncle, Bob Basket, was killed in action in France during WWII. All members of the Resistance are encouraged to contact Adrian prior to the event so that espionage and sabotage activity can be coordinated through him.
French Resistance Assistant
I have had a love of history since I
was a kid and always listened to the
personal experiences of WW2 vets that
were in my family, from
stories on the Eastern Front to the D-Day landings. I started out reenacting in 2006 (Civil War) and was in a unit that did a lot if living history's at national parks , my childhood love of WW2 drew me to reenacting WW2. I am in the 100 Jagers reenacting German and love doing the French Resistance once a year, plus it's fun to get roughed up by your friends.
Allied Homefront Coordinator
Stephanie is a 25+ year veteran of living history. She's participated in and organized events nationally and worldwide. Her interest are broad spectrum with a concentration on women's history, fashion history and social anthropology during the war. She's a well - rounded resource that truly loves helping others be a part of living history and educating others.