Preserving the Past: A Fire Truck with History

From the Marshall Alumni Association

Anyone who has been around Huntington knows—Marshall is special to the community.

It holds a treasured place in our hearts, for more than just the reason than it’s a college city. Our community is united by a lot but remembered around this time of year is the events of November 14, 1970. A tragic day that struck the campus, the city and our community, with so many dear lives lost.

We may have accepted the tragedy of the event and have, in many ways, come to peace with the pain. Our Marshall family continues to be strengthened by the lasting memory.

In the time since this tragedy, Marshall continues to grow, persevere and honor the memory of those who lost their lives.

Someone who is helping preserve the memory of those lost in the tragedy is Marshall University Alumnus and Chesapeake, Ohio, local Kenny Wolfe.

Wolfe started at Marshall a few years after the plane crash and graduated in 1977 with his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He went on to earn his master’s degree in education administration in 1980.

A fire truck that responded to the scene of the plane crash on that fateful night sat parked by the volunteer fire station in Chesapeake for years.

About four years ago, Kenny Wolfe noticed the old truck and decided to take it upon himself to do something about it—to honor the 75.

“It was actually the first one the fire department had over there (in Chesapeake). It was purchased in 1959, they were actually just going to do away with it, and someone said it still ran. It went to the actual crash site on November 14, 1970. Someone said that it should be refurbished and so I called my friends at Nicely’s Towing, so they repainted it and worked on it a little bit,” Wolfe said.

Bringing the 60-plus-year-old truck into a new restored, state was likely not an easy task, but has helped preserve and continue to remember this tragedy that has shaped our community.

“The thing with the truck it’s kind of like the team itself—from the crash the team rebuilt itself and became widely known, winning championships, it just didn’t give up or forget about the program. It’s just kind of like that truck, it just didn’t give up either, it’s viable today, that’s the relationship I had with it—the Herd came back and made something of itself and the truck is still here too,” Wolfe said.

A story of restoration and perseverance—a true example of the Marshall spirit.

“It’s kind of like a testament to never forget what happened back then, it was a half a century ago and a lot of people have read about it, but when you actually knew about it and knew people, that has all of these ties to it, it’s like remembering the people in the crash, in keeping the truck,” Wolfe said.

As we continue to heal from this tragedy, we will never forget the lives lost, and are thankful for those like Wolfe who are doing their part in preserving the important parts of our history.

Picture provided by the Marshall Alumni Association