Volunteer Spotlight: Anza Bast

Anza Bast has been involved with the Osceola County Historical Society for over 10 years, she is a dedicated volunteer and board member who received this year’s Florida Association of Museums Outstanding Volunteer award. Anza is an invaluable resource for OCHS. Her wealth of regional knowledge and her passion for history have made her an incredible asset to the organization. Anza volunteers most of her time in the Curation and Collection Department. Larissa Bixby caught up with Anza at the Research Center at Spence Pavilion one afternoon to chat a bit about her contributions to OCHS.

LB: Why do you think history is important?

 AB: It’s very simple, if you don’t know where you’ve been, you don’t know where you are going.

LB: Why do you volunteer with OCHS?

 AB: I love history, and I began by researching family genealogy. Both my mother-in-law and husband were involved with OCHS, so it was natural that I became involved.

LB: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

 AB: Working with the records and the “old stuff”. I also enjoy filling the research requests, I learn a lot when I do that.

LB:  Besides volunteering, what do you do in your free time?

AB: I can jams and jellies, and BBQ sauce, knit and crochet, visit my kids and grandkids, and we go to our place in Georgia a few times a year.

LB: You really have a full schedule, what is your personal philosophy?

 AB: Do the best I can, give it 100%.

LB: That is a great attitude to live by, what is the best book you have ever read?

 AB: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It is about a time that is long gone; a time that people are trying to forget about and erase.

LB: I love that book, and that is a perspective I have never thought of before. Thank you for sharing it. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

 AB: My husband

I must say that Anza’s expression, every time she mentioned Mike, suggested fond memories and a deep love that was powerful to witness. Having this chat with her showed me a side that I did not often get to see on my brief moments passing through the archives or rushing about on my own business. Anza’s passion for OCHS and history as a whole was evident through our entire interview, including within her answer to my next question.

LB: What is one thing you cannot resist?

 AB: Chocolate and cemeteries. That’s two! Let’s add genealogy too. I started tracing my own family’s history when I was 11 years old, all the way back to the Arcadians in the 1600s. I fell in love with research and have been digging deeper ever since.

LB: You truly have a fascinating story to tell! How do you define success?

 AB: Success is being happy in what you are doing, making the best of what you are doled out.

LB: I have one last question; tell us something that might surprise us about yourself.

 AB: I moved to New Orleans from a town 75 miles southwest in Louisiana to pursue a career in Ballet.

Anza left me with a few final thoughts before we said goodbye for the afternoon; “So much history gets lost. Choose carefully if you get rid of family heirlooms, you are getting rid of personal histories and stories.”

Thank you, Anza for all of your hard work and dedication to OCHS. We appreciate everything you do to help us in our operations and spreading our Mission to the residents and visitors of Osceola County.