Stacy Brogden enjoyed a column I wrote about Tom O'Neill, a decorated World War II combat veteran, and wanted to speak with him. After first gaining permission from O'Neill, I gave Brogden the contact information he requested.
The two have gotten together and O'Neill shared some firsthand accounts of life in the line of fire during the war. Brogden has a passion for American history, especially military history.
Brogden was born in Atlanta and has been living in Fort Mill for four years. He is a detective with the Rock Hill Police Department. After graduating from the Citadel with a degree in history, Brogden joined the North Charleston Police Department.
"I was on the SWAT Team for 10 years, on the Bomb 6 Squad and did helicopter duty on the flight crew," Brogden said.
He loves his job as a first responder. He also enjoys participating in re-enactments.
"I saw my first re-enactment when I was about 12, and I've been hooked ever since," Brogden said.
He has taken part in many re-enactments over the years, including those depicting the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and the First and Second World Wars.
"World War is my favorite. It's wonderful when the vets come to our re-enactments. They tell me that it gives them joy and pride to watch what we do. There are hugs and tears," Brogden said.
He has been in re-enactments in the Carolinas, Canada, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kansas and England. He also has been to schools to demonstrate and educate. The participants use original gear when possible. They also eat, drink and sleep (for the most part), authentically.
"We are like living histories for the many people who come out to watch," Brogden said. "Our knowledge comes from reading, research and learning from others about the various battles we re-enact. We provide family-oriented events. Everyone learns something and enjoys themselves while doing it."
Brogden's entire family is involved in re-enactments.
"We value the time together as a family and have met scores of great people along the way," Brogden said.
His wife, Stacy, a project manager for Coco-Cola, loves it much as he does.
"It's so much fun to wear period clothing. I look up recipes to prepare and use authentic utensils when cooking on our weekend camping trips," she said.
A side note: since both husband and wife share the same first name, even spelled the same way, they are known as "Stacy Boy," and "Stacy Girl."
Their oldest son, Ryan, is in the U.S. Army. An Iraq vet, he and his wife are expecting a baby in September.
Daughter, Rachel, works and attends nursing school. Son, Kyle, is a 10th-grader at Nation Ford High School.
All three enjoy taking part in re-enactments.
One night a week, Brogden, Stacy Girl and Kyle attend dance classes at Gottaswing Charlotte.