When people can do what they love as they work and contribute to the greater good of the community, most people say they’ve found their dream. Carl Fisher is lucky enough to be one of those people. A retired superintendent and lifelong volunteer of the Portage Historical Society, Fisher loves preserving history and educating people about the past.
Fisher grew up in Elkhart County, Indiana in Middlebury. He was raised the youngest of 5 siblings, which he counts as a blessing because his family pushed him to help others and to be the best version of himself. Fisher grew up on a dairy farm, but his parents also started raising chickens for their eggs, as well. ’
“I graduated from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana,” Fisher said. “I majored in History and minored in Spanish. I liked to get up in front of folks to try to deliver some things that might be helpful. I always really enjoyed history. It’s something I pretty much love, I’ve studied it all my life. I just believe if we have a good understanding of our past that it helps us to live better in the present.”
After college, Fisher taught at the elementary level for a few years, when he realized that he didn’t want to be a teacher for the rest of his life, he made the decision to go down to Bloomington to study at Indiana University.
“I always still wanted to work with people. I just really enjoy working with folks and making our lives better,” Fisher said. “I went ahead and got my Master’s Degree in Public Parks and Recreation. I’m completely retired now for the past 10 years, but I was the superintendent of parks and recreation for the city of Portage for 25 years, 1983 to 2008.”
In addition to being the superintendent, Fisher helped to create the Portage Community Historical Society. He still continues to volunteer throughout his retirement.
“Because of my love for history, I was instrumental in helping to create the Portage Community Historical Society. We organized ourselves back in 1988, that’s the year we became incorporated by the State of Indiana as a charitable not-for-profit organization,” Fisher said. “There were some wonderful people who stepped up and joined in with the park department to make this happen.”
The PCHS focuses on preserving and highlighting the combined historical background of both the city of Portage as well as Portage Township.
“We try to help the Portage community to take pride in its history,” Fisher said. “We also have a museum at Countryside Park in Portage. Volunteers, just regular Portage citizens, make up the officers and Board of Directors.”
Fisher’s excitement for preserving history, as well as bettering his community, is nearly tangible and certainly contagious.
“A community is only what citizens make it. All of us need to take pride in the communities where we’ve decided to live. There are so many opportunities out there for regular citizens to give back to the community,” Fisher said.
To learn more about the Portage Community Historical Society and to commemorate the organization’s 30th anniversary, visit their website at http://www.inpchs.com/