Joe Wiegand brought Theodore Roosevelt to life during his visit to Magness Library, a visit to encourage conservation efforts.
“The only thing I like more than books is children. At the library you can have both of those,” said Wiegand dressed in attire strikingly similar to that worn by the former president and speaking with his mannerisms. Theodore Roosevelt served as our 26th U.S. President from 1901-1909.
Wiegand visited four schools Friday prior to the library – Centertown, WCMS, Morrison and Eastside.
Dressed in his Roosevelt attire, Wiegand says the children at the schools easily recognized him and greeted him as Teddy, Mr. President or colonel.
“It stands in stark contrast to my recent visit to Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, Calif.,” said Wiegand. “My pictures and quotations adorn each and every classroom in that school, but when I arrived there, one student spotted me so attired and with my top hat. He pointed at me and told his friends, ‘Look, there’s the Monopoly dude.’”
After a round of laughter, Wiegand added, “If they knew their history as well as your students do, they would have known I was the anti-Monopoly dude, the great trust buster.”
Wiegand’s work as a Roosevelt impersonator has taken him coast to coast – and even to the White House. He performed in the East Room of the White House on Oct. 27, 2008 during a celebration of what would have been Roosevelt’s 150th birthday.
Wiegand spoke of Roosevelt’s childhood, the positive influence of his parents, his road to the White House, his years as president, why he began conservation efforts, and the various accomplishments he made while in office. All his stories contained humor.
Wiegand was invited to Warren County by Friends of South Cumberland Recreation Area as “A Salute to Conservation and Parks.” He is a political science graduate of The University of the South and calls himself the premier Roosevelt reprisor in America.
“We were so happy to have him here portraying Teddy Roosevelt,” said library director Brad Walker. “It was a real treat. He was very entertaining.”
The event attracted approximately 45 people.