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Chris Boonzaier, September 24, 2013 in Germany: Imperial: Rick (Research) Lundstrom Forum for Documentation and Photographs
Maybe it is a poorer man who waits until someone has died to speak good of him, than the man who waits until he is dead to speak ill of him. I always hoped that Rick knew how much I appretiated him, but being a guy I never got around to expressing it verbally.
I have known Rick for about 15 years. We had some ups and downs, I am happy to say, far more up than down. As a friend and a moderater it did not take long to find out that Rick could throw a wobbly with the best of them, and as a friend and a moderater damage control was sometimes part of the portfolio, but a small price to pay for his presence.
In 1950 Japan created a program by which living people could be designated as „national treasures“, an example that has been followed by various other countries.
We collectors may live in a world of our own, but we have no own country. As such I cannot say Rick was a national treasure, the highest accolade I can pay is to say that he was an asset at every level.
To the collecting community he was an asset. Along with Daniel Kraus he put his nose to the grindstone and produced published works that cost much effort, for little gain, but all was done to doggedly fill important gaps on the Phaleristic bookshelf.
To GMIC he was an asset, a gem. Where Rick laid his hat, interesting collectors congregated. Rick and his knowlege were a magnet that attracted questions and collectors like no other.
To me, as a collector he was an asset. The amount of times where I was stymied with a detail in a Militärpass, or in a mans career, and Rick had an insperation... das geht auf keine Kuhhaut.
To me, as me, he was an asset because it is a good thing to have a person to shame you into following his exapmle and help other collectors out, and accepting that on occasion there will not even be a thank you.
Rick was a big man, with a big heart, and on occasion a short fuse ;-)
So what legacy does Rick leave? A wise man once said to me, when I was dragging my feet on a project, that 10 000 forum posts does not a legacy make. A single book is infinately more valuable.
Rick went about it the hard way, along with Daniel they undertook the seemingly thankless task of transcribing medal rolls. It is a nose to the grindstone job, not many would do it, but what they achieved, putting thousands of Soldiers, hidden in dusty archives, back within reach of researchers and collectors. Each of those rolls save soldiers from oblivion.
Identifying medal bars will probably always remain more of an art than a science, but it was an art Rick excelled in. As long as we accept that medal rolls will never be 100% complete, Rick worked with the materials availible and I believe he worked magic. It is possible that for one reason or another, a missing piece of information or a crooked dealer that his success rate was not 100%, but I don't think anyone can do the job without a few misses and I doubt we will see anyone with a success rate like Rick's in the near future.
Rick not only helped collectors to "name" their bars, he also brought soldiers long dead, back to life. Every bar identified was a man saved from oblivion. Men whose great grandchilren may not even know their names, live on because a collector does.
Rick was not only GOOD at what he did, he did it with a GOODHEART, He identified medal bars, sending the owners away with a big smile on their face, and a more valuable piece in their pocket.... and he basically did it for free.
THAT is the reason Nick named this forum after him. The GMIC Imperial research forum was Rick's „Home from Home“, and I am sure he would have liked the thought that his name was on the door, even though he has moved out.....