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Resource officer, principal help reunite 94-year-old Manheim Township man with a trophy his team won 80 years ago

Jim McMullen, 94, wrote to Wheatland Middle School to ask if he could get a picture with the junior high track trophy his team captured in 1942.
Credit: Manheim Township Police Department
Manheim Township School Resource Officer Scott Neff (left) and Jim McMullen pose with the trophy McMullen's junior high track team won in 1942.

LANCASTER, Pa. — A Manheim Township middle school principal and the school district's resource officer teamed up to help reunite a 94-year-old resident with a trophy he helped win 80 years ago, the township's police department said Thursday.

The police department shared the following account:

Earlier this month, Wheatland Middle School Principal Don Trost received a letter in the mail from Jim McMullen, a 94-year-old Manheim Township alum and former member of the Lancaster Township Junior High track team of 1942.

McMullen's letter included a team photo that showed him holding a championship trophy the team won that year.

McMullen asked if he could get another photo of himself with the trophy, in front of the former Lancaster Township Junior High School (which is now known as Buchanan Elementary School in the School District of Lancaster).

McMullen's letter read:

Dear Folks, 

Because of the war, only one track meet was held for Lancaster County Junior High Schools. This was our team that year. 

The year before, 1941, Colin Engle took us to attend the Penn Relays at Franklin Field where we saw Barney Ewell compete.   

That year Jim Ault (#1) and I were the only 7th graders to receive Junior Achievement Awards. 

I am at age 94, the only one still living in the photo. I served with L.P.D. (Lancaster Police Department) from 1950 to 1988. During that time, I believe I had seen the large trophy still on display at W.M.S. (Wheatland Middle School) in the 1970s and 1980s. 

If in fact Wheatland still has the trophy, I am asking if I can borrow it so my 71-year-old daughter can photograph me holding it at the same place in front of what was then Lancaster Township School? 

Sincerely, 

Jim McMullin '43 

Lanc. Twp. Jr. High

Credit: Manheim Township Police Department
A newspaper article referring to the 1942 junior high track championship Jim McMullen's team won in 1942. McMullen (bottom row, center) is pictured holding the trophy.

Because McMullen said he was a former police officer, Trost reached out to School Resource Officer Scott Neff for help.

The two men searched through the school building's storage areas and were able to locate the trophy.

Neff gave the trophy a little polish and a fresh shine before setting out to surprise McMullen. He contacted McMullen's daughter and arranged to have her bring her father to the school.

On May 10, Neff, Trost, and Manheim Township Police Sgt. Barry Waltz Jr. gathered at the school to reunite an emotional McMullen with the trophy.

After posing for some photos, McMullen got another nice surprise: Trost told him he could keep the trophy for good.

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