n no particular order:
1. Michael "Schapps" Schaffner, Clerk: Schnapps has reintroduced the lost art of "red tape." The term comes from the red ribbons tied around folders of paperwork during our era, and while the term is discredited, it certainly is an important component of Army life in 186X. While it's more fun to burn powder, march or even sleep under the sky, the plain fact of the matter is that armies of our period produced voluminous reports. One of the Rowdy Pards once found fault with Schnapps because he always wants to be a clerk, usually in blue. As I pointed out to my fellow RP, Michael has revived something that most of us would find too boring to do ourselves, and thereby has materially enriched our understanding of (and experience within) the period.
2. Don Hubbard, Logistics: The late Don Hubbard will likely be remembered more for the Field Music School he started at Ft. Delaware, or for his squabbles with Alex "Bug" Garbeck over music issues, or even his belllowing "Principal Musician Cross!" at the Berkeley 100 event some years ago, but Don is most significant in how he revived our understanding of provisioning an army in the field. Ration issues are no longer any big deal; in fact, some argue that ration issues are simply boring and overdone. But time was that most events were "full haversack" affairs, where bringing your own rations invited all sorts of abuses as pards would pack up convenient modern victuals instead of period fare. Don found sources for slab bacon, fresh bread, dessicated vegetables, whatever event organizers wanted, acquired them at the best price possible, delivered them on-time, and brought along his SUV piled with period gear for setting up a commissary in the field. I don't know what happened to all that gear, but seeing the ration issues at most events now reminds me how much Don contributed to our understanding of and ability to recreate a period ration issue.
3. Curt "Heinrich" Schmidt, Mountain Man: Many of you younger fellers probably have never met Curt, and sadly he posts so little on EITHER forum these days, but his store of knowledge about most things to do with the material culture of the war is vast and, one hopes, being transcribed for a book akin to The Hardcracker Handbook or The Columbia Rifles Research Compendium (I don't know John Tobey well, but he's another one in Curt's stripe who has forgotten more about the WBTS than most of us will ever know). Fully defarbing my Enfield, properly tarring my haversack, even the expression PEC ("plain, everyday, common"). I owe so much to Curt.
4. John Cleaveland, Event Builder: John and I will never exchange Christmas cards, and I doubt we'd even shake hands in public-- we have reeactor "issues" I won't bore you with. But this wild man from GA and his pards in the Critter Company not only have the best cavalry impression I've ever seen, but John puts on some of the best events. Inventive, authentic, challenging, the next time John comes back with a new event, make sure you attend. I have "borrowed" ideas from him and will do so again, since he's made a material contribution to the hobby.
5. David "Duke" Culberson, Leader: Duke was a natural-born leader, someone who would step into a leadership role and set a high standard. His fiery personality alienated folks, and in truth, he loved the hobby but it generally didn't love him back. Yet he was generous with opportunity, and brought along a bunch of folks by saying to them "do this job because I have confidence you can." We worked together on several fine events, and were good friends off the field, but I single him out because we need more people who care enough to take chances, try new things and give new people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and get better.
6. Andrew "One Day" Doddington, tent maker:. Andrew lives close to many important CW sites, and has a beautiful new wife, so it's no wonder he tends to show up for a day and then head home. But he has a helluva impression, and makes a fine shelter half. Most events he goes to, Andrew ends up selling the half he brought into the field to some admiring pard. I single him out, not only because he's a fine living historian, but because he has found a niche that needs filling. There are many others out there making quality, authentic gear (Karin Timour for woolen goods, John Peterson for the best damned tinware I've seen, BJ from email@example.com
for corp badges, officers ranks and other embroidered ornamentation), I just happen to know Andrew.
7. Bob Denton, Event Organizer: Bobby D. has been one of the ramrods behind the McDowell events, and I have always admired the way that small rural community has nurtured its CW legacy and the bi-annual event that bears its name. The McDowell event has morphed over the years from mainstream powder burner to campaigner challenge to a mixture of the two, all the while adding new features. Most recently, we've been allowed to reenact the battle on the original ground. Not something that happens regularly. Bob and the others working with him (and forgive me for not acknowledging them by name, I just don't know them) have gotten the landowners to play along, and the result has been 10 years of good events. Good luck to them as the event changes yet again, but I won't spoil the surprise.
8. Steve "Boomer" Pannier, LH Organizer: Boomer is still a fellow RP, though I fear his "arc" is about done. But over the past 5 or so years, Steve has set up an annual Living History at Gettysburg that highlights some of the lesser-known units who gave the last full measure of devotion in obscurity. Usually held at Spangler's Springs, these LHs have been divided pretty much equally between blue and gray in the part of the battlefield that gets too little attention from both the public and the NPS. Steve not only meticulously researches the units highlighted, but is an excellent presenter to the public. And while not technically part of the hobby, Park Ranger Tom Holbrook deserves a nod as well for his staunch support for the RPs even when our numbers have been less than all would hope for.
9. Hank & Linda Trent, Authentic Civilians: In my estimation, there are no finer civilian living historians than this couple. They bring a professionalism and flair to any event they attend, and can out first-person even my hardcore son! But I don't want to give the impression they are stick-up-the-### weirdos. Nothing could be further from the truth. At an otherwise forgettable event some years back, Hank sold the officer I was portraying "a piece of the rope used to hang John Brown." It was a small, but memorable bit of first person that I remembered and referred back to during "At High Tide" when I commented to Hank during a rare moment of firper how we'd recently hanged a scalliwag for selling pieces of the John Brown rope. He and Linda want to "do it right," and so push both other civilians and the military they interact with to be as authentic as possible. Their work on the civilian component of "War on the James" was brilliant in my opinion, and if I ever organize another event, I know I can call the Trents, get them on-board, and not have to worry about the civilian impression.
And finally, but not lastly,
10. Nick Sekela, tailor: Whatever you might say about Nick, he has advanced the knowledge we have of period clothing, has put his money where his mouth is by producing garments and accessories no one else would bother with, and has spurred us to do better in so many respects. I'm not even sure I won't be hearing from his lawyer for mentioning him at all (that's a joke, Nick, if you're lurking!), but I continue to be amazed and delighted at the items turning up in his workshop: a knit Federal fatigue blouse, leathers that have long been the "gold standard" for most of us, a batch of officer "infantry horn" ornaments at AHT that blow away what I've seen before, what will Nick come up with next?