Month: April 2009

The Passing of a Champion – Harold “Mac” McGilton # 81

This is a sad week for me.

Harold “Mac” W. McGilton, Sr., 74, of Fremont Ohio, died Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at Countryside Continuing Care Center surrounded by his family.

He was survived by his wife, Betty McGilton, Fremont, OH; children, Michael McGilton, Steve McGilton, Harold “Mac” (Maria) McGilton, Jr., Lisa (Randy) Hammer, Linda McGilton all of Fremont, OH; fourteen grandchildren; and twelve great grandchildren.

I first met Harold McGilton in the early 1970’s. I think I was about 11 or 12 years old at the time. It was a chance meeting and though it was a long time ago…I remember it like yesterday.

Harold McGilton did not know my name, nor did we ever communicate at any time over the past 35 plus years since that first night I met him. However, Harold “Mac Attack” McGilton had a tremendous influence on me during those early years. He just never knew it.

Who was Harold “Mac” McGilton?

Harold was a Welder and Steeplejack by trade…but more importantly he was a race car driver. Not just any race car driver…but my race car driver. I watched in awe as he battled the corners of Fremont Speedway with the likes of Al Franks, Jim Linder and others.

He began his racing career in 1956. Throughout his racing career, Harold won hundreds of features and set numerous track records. He was a two time Track Champion at Fremont Speedway. In 1975 he won the first Speed Week Championship and in 1976 was Co-Champion with Billy Cassella. He traveled to many surrounding states winning numerous titles and events. After retiring in the late 70’s Harold returned to Sprint Car racing, competing and winning at age sixty-five. One of his great accomplishments was leading and finishing third at the Master’s Classic in 1999 in Knoxville, Iowa.

As a young boy, when I rode my bicycle, I imagined that I was Harold making the heroic and dangerous pass on that final turn to win the race. His daughter, Lisa Hammer recently said, “He was a bridesmaid hundreds of times,” she continued. “It took him seven years to get his first feature win.” However, when I played with my “Matchbox” cars…I had a special car that was “Harold’s” car. It NEVER lost a race.

I am sure there were times when in my mind…I was more Harold McGilton than the real deal. He was larger than life and I idolized him.

knoxville-3-1975hm

Little did Harold McGilton know that on that hot July evening, at the Fremont Speedway, that when he shook my hand he would have had such an influence on a young boy from Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Sadly, as I grew up, I moved on to other interests and other sports. Harold retired from racing.

I often wondered what he was up to and I always wished I could have made the connection with him again and tell him what a positive influence he had been to me. I wanted to tell him thank you for giving a young boy a hero to follow.

But as fate would have it…it never happened.

I came home from work this week and opened the newspaper and read the obituaries…and there it was… Harold had passed away.

In my life, I have traveled around the world. I have met a number a professional athletes, politicians and famous people over the years. I have even had the honor of meeting two Presidents and shaking their hands.  All of these people would be considered heroes for many people, but not for me.

I did not have to travel all around the world to find a hero…

He found me at a little dirt track in Fremont, Ohio.

Thank you, Harold.

Blessings to his family and may God give you peace and comfort in this difficult time.

Earth Day Honors

Maybe it’s just me…but I want to celebrate Earth Day by giving honor to those inventors that used the resources of this earth and made our lives better….  God bless them that discovered uses for oil, trees, water, coal and electric…our lives are better for it!!!

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The Joy, the Hope and Salvation that Comes with Christ Resurrected

I had the wonderful privileged to see Keith Green just a few months before he was tragically killed in a plane crash. As I sat in his concert, I was amazed at the fact that he “preached” as much as he sang. He shared the message that God gave him and then would sing to share that message through song. Keith Green was not shy about talking about his passion for Christ.

We do not see this in many of today’s Christian Artists… my experience with this is that most times they sing for and hour or so and if you get past the lights and special effects…you may be able to tell that they are singing about Jesus Christ. Most times, I can apply the lyrics of the song to my wife. Meaning…the song could be about the love I have for my wife not just about the love Jesus Christ has for me or me for Him. However, as with all songs written and recorded by Keith Green, there is no doubt about the message he is trying to get across to each of us.

In that concert, in early 1982, Keith started talking about the coming Easter Celebration.

He shared the experience of Christ on the Cross.

He shared the Death of Christ...

As this man of God spoke, he held all of us in the grasp of his powerful words. He made me see the Crucifixion in a whole new way. It was not as I had imagined it at all. He painted a picture so clear and so vivid that it was if I was standing there in the presence of Jesus Christ at the foot of the Cross.

In my mind, I was there at the Cross and stood there as they took Him down from that Cross and laid Him in a tomb. The shame, I felt was heavy on my heart.

He then shared the Resurrection of Christ…

As his words pierced through my heart and my mind, he started playing the Easter Song. A song he wrote to put into words the hope and joy of Christ Resurrected. He sang this wonderful song and for the first time since the day of my salvation, I cried tears of joy.

To this very day, when I hear this beautiful song I cry tears of joy.

As you celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, my prayer is that maybe this song may help you experience the Joy, the Hope and Salvation that comes with Christ Resurrected.

Brazilian?

The Dept Of Defense briefed the president this morning. They told President Obama that 2 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.  To everyone’s surprise, all the color drained from Obama’s face. Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears. Finally, he composed himself and asked, ‘Just how many is a Brazilian?’   This is not surprising, since he obviously has no understanding of billion or trillion either.