The Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame will induct three longtime volunteers this year.
The 2019 inductees are: Will Looman of Tallmadge, Brian Graham of Fallbrook, California, and Edgar "Ed" Harman of Akron.
“The Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame recognizes the significant contributions and efforts of individuals who make it possible for the Soap Box Derby program to have an impact on the lives of young people throughout the United States and other parts of the world,” International Soap Box Derby President and CEO Mark Gerberich said in a prepared statement. “The three 2019 honorees have been active and dedicated volunteers for decades.”
They will be honored during the post-race awards ceremony July 20 at the 82nd FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby.
Looman, 77, began volunteering for the Akron local Soap Box Derby organization in 1980, and served on its board of directors from 1983 through 1996. He was director of the Akron local race from 1987 through 1993, during which time he also began volunteering in technical roles for the All-American Soap Box Derby. In the early 1990s, he joined the All-American’s National Control Board (now called the Racing Commission, the top technical and race operations body), on which he continues to serve. Looman was commission chairman from 2012 through 2014, and has served as race director of the All-American world championships since 2012. He retired from Goodyear Rubber and Tire Co. in 2018, after 54 years’ service as a mechanical engineer.
Graham, 66, helped establish the Soap Box Derby program in Oceanside, California, which staged its first race in 1995. He served as local race director as well as a board member from 1995 through 2005. He joined the All-American Soap Box Derby’s rally commission in 1997, and served as its chairman from 2015 through 2017. He became an assistant regional director in 1998, and has served as Region 2 director since 2014. He has been active in the California Family Soap Box Derby Association and has served as announcer for many Soap Box Derby events throughout California and during race week in Akron. He is an author and public motivational speaker.
Harmon, 85, is a lifelong Akron resident who raced in the Akron local race for three years beginning in 1947. He returned to the Soap Box Derby scene in 1985, when his oldest grandson first raced. He became a board member for the Akron local organization in 1998, then a member of the A-Team technical support group for the All-American Soap Box Derby. Harmon has contributed his technical expertise for local races in Akron and in Portage County, as well as at the All-American championships and SuperKids events by setting up electronic systems for communications, safety, security, timing and race operations. Harmon retired as an instrumentation specialist with 45 years’ service from Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems.
The Hall of Fame, which was established in 1997, has 74 inductees.