July marked the beginning of my term as your president. My connection to the road began before my birth when my father followed his Studebaker Champion down the line at the Studebaker Plant in South Bend, Indiana, and was allowed to drive his new car off the line. My childhood was filled with road trips in Studebakers, many of them along our road.
As an adult I have worked in the areas of education, history, preservation, and the arts. My professional career includes serving as the Education Coordinator at both the Northern Indiana Center for History in South Bend, Indiana and at The Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both museum experiences placed me in the position of interpreting the historic Lincoln Highway.
It was exciting to share the history, but once I attended a Lincoln Highway conference, I was hooked. The members of the Lincoln Highway Association have the passion for preserving the road and that is what makes me stay the course. I am delighted to serve you and look forward to growing the organization along with a talented board and our new executive director.
This is a very exciting time for our association as we continue to promote and protect the historic Lincoln Highway corridor. David Hay, along with our past president, Bob Lichty, will begin to enter into a new discussion with Congress in hopes of gaining a national byway status for the Lincoln Highway. We believe the LHA is positioned to accomplish this task.
Many of you have worked tirelessly to achieve local, regional, state and national preservation successes and you know that a national designation for the entire corridor would be a grand achievement that would serve to benefit all communities along the route. Certainly this would be a timely endeavor as the nation begins to celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincolnâ€™s birth in 2009.
This effort will require grassroots support. Members, local communities, and state leadership will need to be involved at local and national levels as advocates for the designation. We thank you in advance for being a voice for the Lincoln Highway.
The board of directors and the National Office will roll out a number of projects over the next few months. You will be receiving information in the mail, via email (if you have provided your email address), and in the Forum. Please read and respond to these communications so we can move forward with good speed and direction. We will also be asking for your input. We care what you think, so take the time to share your thoughts with us!
In closing I would like to thank Bob Lichty and Gregory Franzwa for taking the time to assist in a smooth transition of leadership for the organization and a thank you to the 2007 LHA conference planning team for a job well done. Be sure to mark your calendars for Evanston, Wyoming in 2008 and for South Bend, Indiana in 2009. Remember to visit the LHA on the web at www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org.
Take care and enjoy the journey!