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Then & Now: The Old Fossil’s Swan Song

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  • Then & Now: The Old Fossil’s Swan Song

    By Lin Hardy Ford Editor’s note: This article was written first published in 1997 in the APCO Bulletin.

    For the past 13 years, I have been the author of the historical column in the APCO Bulletin, the APCO historian and the acting chair of the APCO Historical Committee. The Historical Committee began to actively make progress starting with the idea formed at the 1984 Annual Conference by a few APCO “Old Timers”— Frank Campbell, Bob Brooking, “Chief” Bill Keel, Jim Evans Dave Wise and myself. We committed to have an historical booth at all annual conferences to display our collection of items of printed material, physical items such as radio parts, badges, conference memorabilia, etc.

    The booth was an immediate hit with attendees and spurred folks to donate items from their chapters to the collection. Just a quick side note: all of these items were housed in my attic until APCO finally made enough space at headquarters for them to be packed up and shipped to Florida — a major undertaking in the form of 12 large moving boxes. These were to be kept in a secure environment until a brick and mortar museum could be an actuality.

    As the author of the “Hardy Historical” APCO Bulletin monthly columns, I began with running chapter histories, memorable moments in APCO and communications (the institution of the 10 Codes), The Detroit Police Radio Broadcasts and such special APCO conference activities as MANAPCO, which was begun by Fred Link as a social activity for conference attendees.

    There were also profile articles of important leaders in APCO such as: J. Rhett and Vivian McMillilan (Mr. and Mrs. APCO), Fred Link (Mr. Radio), Art McDole, Craig Jorgenson, Ernie Landreville and Russ Robinson, just to name a few. These leaders are credited with the growth of APCO as a recognized communications industry.

    One of the most memorable historical Conferences was the 50th Golden Anniversary APCO Conference. One particular item in the APCO Historical Collection is a tablecloth that was signed by attendees of that conference.

    The biggest dream of myself and the Historical Committee was to obtain an authorization to obtain the funding and authorization to make the APCO Historical Museum an actuality. While the brick and mortar museum was not a possibility, in 1992, the committee gave a presentation and request to the APCO board of directors for funding to purchase a professional cataloging and archiving computer program that could be instituted to document every item to produce a virtual historical museum. The request was approved. All of the items that had been collected over the years that were housed at APCO headquarters had to be photographed and given a specific itemized number. These items were then documented by donation year, donor, purpose, category, etc. and entered into the computer program that makes this information available to every single APCO member. This program (Past Perfect) is very professional and is used by archivists in libraries and organizations.

    The APCO historical display continues at every APCO annual conference and the APCO Virtual Historical Museum is still active and accepting donations of historical material from every chapter or individual to be documented. The Historical Committee continues to be active in researching historical events that are pertinent to public safety communications and presenting them to our members.

    In 1998, due to personal family obligations of having to care for my father who had a massive stroke, I had to give up my column and major activities as APCO historian. It was a very difficult decision, but I was not able to give it the 100% it deserved so I passed the flag. There are so many people I owe thanks to I could fill 50 pages, but I must thank a few special people who have been instrumental in being my mentors, assistants and my helping hands. For their input, support, dedication and enthusiasm for our historical endeavors, thanks go to Helen Rushing, Dave Swan, Jim Becker, T.G. Mieure and my wonderful editor in chief of my monthly articles, Alan Chase.

    While I owe APCO a debt of gratitude for all they have given to me in knowledge, cooperation and friendship, I also am honored by their trust and faith in me by making me the first female Life Member in 1992 — the most treasured honor I have ever received. I often tell new members, if you want to get the most from APCO, give your efforts to APCO — you will be rewarded. I have made so many friends all over the world, I feel blessed, and I thank APCO for the opportunities they gave me. And now for my final Swan Song I say —

    Cheers from the Old Fossil, Lin Hardy Ford.