Carina Borst is not just a volunteer for the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM). She is a mother of a 17-year-old young man that has autism and down syndrome, a motorcycle enthusiast, and a
person that is extremely goal-driven. Borst started volunteering with the IRM in the fall of 2015 after being invited into the cab of Frisco #1630. One of the student firemen noticed her tattoo of 1630 on her arm. (Borst has one of her arms dedicated to her son, Zachary, and when she would run marathons in the IRM area they would always go to the IRM for train rides). That tattoo is what got the fire lit in the firebox of Borst's dedication to railroad preservation.
As mentioned before, Borst is extremely goal driven. When I asked her over the phone today "what is your drive to become the first woman fireman for Frisco 1630?" her response was,
"I've always been goal driven. It's what motivates me to do my best - I always put in 120% effort into everything I do. Since there was only one other woman in the steam department at the IRM [who was not a fireman or training to be one] I wanted to be the first. When I have a goal, I always stick to it and complete it. I want to be the role model for the young ladies coming to the museum with their families to prove that if you put your mind to it you can do anything."
Upon asking her what her inspiration was for working in railroad preservation, her answer was felt from the heart.
"The volunteer's dedication. Their drive, passion, and dedication is really impressive and somewhat rare compared to other organizations. They've dedicated their lives to restoring passenger and freight cars, steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, electrics, and many other things. Their passion for railroading rubs off on you quite a bit. Part of my calling for going there is to promote the family events for the families. It's these events that keep the museum running, not just the preservation efforts."
Borst has a great story to tell and these are just a few of the many things I discussed with her today. I admire her for all of the work she has put into preserving history and while facing many challenges some of us cannot even think of. She is what it truly means to be a railroad
preservationist - coming into the IRM with no former interest or knowledge of anything railroad-related; to dedicating a portion of her life to 1630 and preservation efforts. Borst volunteers at the museum whenever she can for roughly 4-5 hours and is extremely fond of the track gang, steam department, and is the feature editor for the museum's quarterly magazine that is sent out to all of the members. She is currently in the training process of becoming the IRM's FIRST female fireman.
If you want to find out more about Borst's passion and her drive to continue preserving history and touching lives one locomotive at a time, you'll want to pre-order your copy of Edition 10 that will be released on January 28, 2018. The full article will be a featured article and is definitely worth reading!