SPRINGFIELD TWP. The American Towman Spirit Ride recently came to Springfield Township where towing companies, police, fire and State Highway Patrol joined in a ceremony to honor first responders.
Spirit Ride is known as America’s Traveling Memorial Day for first responders. The ride’s mission is to promote public awareness of the "Move Over" laws while honoring those first responders who have been killed on the roadside.
Mike Corbin from New York and his wife, Ilce, are the Spirit Ride Command Team and travel in the support vehicle for the ride. Mike Corbin said there are many people across the states that are not aware of the "Slow Down Move Over" law and they hope to change that with every city they visit.
All 50 states have the law and Ohio’s requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights including road service vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest to, if it is safe and possible to do so, or slow to a speed safe for road, weather, and traffic conditions. Also included are road maintenance vehicles.
The traveling memorial was hosted by Akron Coach at Gala Commons on Oct. 20. More than 100 first responders are killed on the roadways each year and 60 percent of those are tow truck operators. Tow companies across the United States are hosting the ceremonial casket relaying it from state to state to more than 300 cities by the end of 2018. The processions accompanying the casket will total more than 10,000 tow trucks, fire trucks, EMS and police vehicles.
The ceremonial casket called "Spirit" is hand painted with images representing all first responders who work the white line - police, fire, EMS, and towing.
Springfield Police Chief Dave Hoover spoke at the ceremony as well as Owner of Akron Coach Jason Main. Mike Corbin sang a song he wrote to honor the tow operators.
After the ceremony, the symbolic casket was loaded on to the flatbed tow truck from Akron Coach and with a police escort, the tow trucks, police and fire units lined up and made their way in a procession to Hubbard where they passed the baton, so to speak, to another towing company to continue the procession across the cities and states.
Nancy Main from Akron Coach said it is a concern because people don’t know the move over law. She said when you are on the highway and there are lights on the right-hand side of the road from any emergency or maintenance vehicle, you are to move to the left.
Mike Corbin was hit by a car while he was being a good Samaritan. He was working with jumper cables helping someone broken down on the highway. He said he was working with the cables and next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital. He is a musician and said after playing tow shows over the years and hearing stories he knew there was a need to raise awareness to move over.
The Spirit Ride is sponsored by the American Towman Magazine.
For more information, visit www.atspiritride.com or spirt ride Facebook page. The Corbin’s were treated to a ride along with the Springfield Police the night before to get a first hand look at the township.