The Clovis Veterans Memorial District is welcoming former city employee Andy Soldo as its Community Heritage Center Coordinator.
Soldo worked for the city of Clovis from 1999 to 2019. He started as a dispatcher for the police department, and later worked in the financial and human resources departments. He also served as an infantry officer in the United States Army for six years.
In his new role, Soldo is responsible for developing Community Heritage Center exhibits and programs, as well as working with Clovis Unified School District to develop a Clovis 101 curriculum that would teach students about local history.
Soldo’s first major project will be to develop the Center’s opening exhibit, which follows the theme of “Clovis Comes Together in Crisis.” The exhibit – and the Heritage Center as a whole – aims to capture and showcase the “living history” of the Gateway to the Sierras.
“The overriding theme is that the people of Clovis work together for the good of the community,” Soldo said.
The theme was inspired by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but the exhibit will feature stories and artifacts from several past crises that Clovis overcame throughout its history. Soldo said the opening exhibits will feature information on crises ranging from economic depressions to troubles the community faced in times of war.
“There are lots of different kinds of crises,” Soldo said. “The mill was a major part of the town and it burned down at one point. The flume, which brought rough-cut lumber for the mill, was destroyed by snow. So you have this industry that is significant to Clovis, and it gets shut down for a while… then of course there’s the crises of the country in war.
“This isn’t just about a singular response that happened once, but it’s really about the pattern of the people in Clovis history working together to try and solve these things.”
Soldo said he hopes the exhibit will teach younger generations what it was like to live in times of crisis, as well as inspire them to embrace their responsibility to respond to future crises.
“Oftentimes, as things are developing and people are living through it, they don’t realize the significance of what they are living through,” he said. “This (COVID-19 crisis) was a very significant event in our community, in our country, and you’re a part of that, and the things you do and how you respond to it makes a difference.”
Soldo is working to obtain stories of how the community is responding to the COVID-19 crisis to be featured when the Community Heritage Center opens. If you would like to share your story with the CVMD, contact Soldo at 559-392-1911.
The Community Heritage Center is slated to open Veterans Day, Nov. 11.