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Tractor Collectors Raise $$ for Fallen Heroes

by Jerry Goshert

Published: Friday, May 26, 2023

Over 50 area tractor collectors braved chilly temperatures last Saturday as they paraded through southwestern Elkhart County for charity.

The "Red Loves Blue" tractor drive covered 18 miles and raised money for the Indiana Fallen Heroes Foundation. Temperatures were in the mid-50s, with a light wind.

Participating clubs included the Nappanee Power from the Past, Northern Indiana Johnny Poppers, Echoes of the Past and the Northern Indiana International Harvester Collectors Chapter 33.

Rob Meyers, president of the Northern Indiana IH Collectors, said the event raised $3,550 for the Fallen Heroes foundation. Contributions came from 51 tractor drivers participating in the event as well as a $1,000 donation from the Northern Indiana Johnny Poppers. At least two of the drivers traveled more than one hour to participate.

Area police agencies provided an escort as the tractors made their way through the countryside between Nappanee and Wakarusa and back.

In opening comments at the Power from the Past Showgrounds in Nappanee, Meyers said the purpose of the tractor drive was to show appreciation for the men and women in law enforcement. He mentioned that two Indiana police officers have died in the line of duty in the past year, and that 43 officers have lost their lives across the U.S. so far in 2023.

The opening ceremony included applause for the officers in attendance followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

One of the tractor drivers was Robert McCormick of North Liberty. He was driving a 1959 Farmall that carried the U.S. flag with both red and blue lines.

"I support my police and other first responders," he said. "I myself am a volunteer firefighter. The flag has one red line and one blue line to show my respect for fire and police."

He said participating in the tractor drive was just one small way of showing respect to the officers who put their lives on the line to protect the public.

The "Red Loves Blue" tractor drive featured all colors of tractors: red, green, blue, orange and even rust. There is always some friendly rivalry between collectors of those colors, but, on this day, everyone came together to honor "the people who wear the uniform."

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