Tooele Transcript Bulletin Online Edition April 16, 2002
 
Engine’s national trek passes through town

by Mary Ruth Hammond
Staff Writer

Escorted by the flashing lights and blaring sirens of trucks from the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department, Craig Harmon and his 1964 Maxim fire engine named “Spirit of the Lincoln Way,” came to town last Saturday.

Stopping on Grantsville’s North Center Street, once part of the original Lincoln Highway —our nation’s first transcontinental highway — Harmon stepped out of his truck to greet Grantsville firefighters. Founder and director of the Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives in Galion, Ohio, Harmon immediately raised the nation’s flag that was attached at the top of the 100-foot ladder on his truck.

Harmon is making a 3,400-mile odyssey across the nation in his 27,000-pound tower truck. His goal is to stop in each of the 450 towns along the Lincoln Highway, a road which started at Times Square in New York City and ended at Lincoln Park in San Francisco. On Oct. 31, 1913, the Lincoln Highway was officially dedicated and over 300 towns across America held bon fire celebrations that night.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Harmon decided to expand the mission of his trip across the old Lincoln Highway to include a tribute to firefighters nationwide. Since the tragic events of last September, Harmon has asked firefighters at fire department he has visited, to sign a fire helmet. Those helmets will be taken back to New York, and hopefully placed in a memorial museum, Harmon said in Grantsville last Saturday.

Also on his trip across the Lincoln Highway in “America’s fire truck,” Harmon is carrying a lock of hair from Pres. Abraham Lincoln, for whom the transcontinental highway was named. The fire truck driven by Harmon took part last year in the 54th Inaugural Parade for President George W Bush. The fire truck also appeared on NBC’s Today Show at the beginning of Harmon’s Link Across America tour.

The 45-year-old Harmon is an Eagle Scout, graphic artist, book publisher, news photographer, computer technician, tree service owner, coin dealer and a ranger at a Girl Scout Camp. He is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.

While in Grantsville Saturday, several of the city’s volunteer firemen, including Fire Chief Neil Critchlow, climbed to the top of the 100-foot ladder. Harmon noted that at only two other stops along his nationwide journey has someone asked to climb to the top of the ladder.

Grantsville Volunteer firefighters presented Harmon with their signed fire helmets, as well as Grantsville hats and shirts.

“I have never received so much bounty before,” a smiling Harmon told Chief Critchlow. “All of these items will go into a museum.”

Critchlow mentioned that even though his department would be honored to have the items placed in a museum, volunteer firefighters would also like for Harmon to keep a couple of the shirts and hats for themselves.

Each community along the route of Harmon’s journey will be invited to nominate their portion of the Lincoln Highway as a White House Community Millennium Trail.

The idea of Harmon’s journey, which actually began in 1999, is part of a 10-year effort to “Honor the Past and Imagine the Future” in celebrating the Lincoln Highway as “The Show Road of the World.”

The celebration will culminate with a nationwide bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birth in 2009.

E-mail: maryruth@tooeletranscript.com





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