Lincoln impersonator aims to emulate more than Abe's looks
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Impersonator Daniel G. Storck has portrayed President Abraham Lincoln in parades and schools for 16 years.
This year, however, on the 16th president's birthday Friday, the Lincoln look-alike will be the same age as his hero was when assassinated in 1865.
At 56, Storck not only looks much younger than the Great Emancipator but he could continue to play him for years, he said.
"At 56, Lincoln looked a lot older than I do at 56. Part of that is I don't have to fight a war, one of the bloodiest wars in U.S. history. I haven't had two children die or a wife who was, frankly, difficult to live with," said Storck, who has represented Mount Vernon on the Fairfax County School Board since 2004.
The stress of public service is something Storck can sympathize with this year. Fairfax schools are facing a budget shortfall of nearly $200 million, resulting in tough decisions for the 10-member School Board.
"Fighting for the neediest kids is one of the things that Mr. Storck does," board member Martina A. Hone (At Large) said during school budget discussions recently.
During that meeting, Storck, the board chairman, introduced five amendments to the proposed budget, asking for $10.3 million to fund programs facing cuts. They include summer school and the Extended Learning Program, a tutoring program.
"Dan and Abe are probably more alike than different," School Board member James L. Raney (At Large) said. "Both are gentle giants in their respective fields."
Storck, the father of three county school graduates, owns two health-care management companies. His children are the reason he ran for the School Board, he said, but Lincoln also plays a role in his decision-making.
"He's one of the better angels of my nature," he said. "I'm sure Lincoln has become a part of me in ways I don't even realize. He was there for the people. And I like to think of myself that way. I'd like to make a difference in people's lives in a way that is not starry-eyed. I'm not in this for some big program. I'm in it for practical results that impact people's lives."
Storck's first public appearance as Lincoln was in 1994, during the annual Presidents' Day parade in Old Town Alexandria.
"There's always been a Washington but no Lincoln" in the parade, he said. "So, I called the organizers and I asked if I could march as Lincoln. At first, they had me parade right in front of a Confederate marching group. . . . That didn't really work out."