Nugget of Knowledge: Local connection to Santa Tracker

A Bessemer, Pa. native started the annual holiday program

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – We know the story of the North American Air Defence Command tracking Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve.

The most accurate version of how it all began seems to go like this: On November 30, 1955, a child in Colorado Springs tried to reach Santa Claus on a hotline phone number. The number came from a newspaper advertisement for Sears, but the child misdialed the number.

The phone rang at the desk of Colonel Harry Shoup at the Air Defence Command in Colorado Springs.

Colonel Shoup later said he identified himself as Santa, and the Air Force public relations people saw an opportunity to make our military Santa-friendly.

Now we have the Santa Tracker, thanks to the colonel.

And what about Colonel Shoup?

Harry Shoup was from here.

He was born in Bessemer, Pennsylvania. That’s in Lawrence County, just over the Ohio line.

He went to Westminster College in New Wilmington and met his future wife, Louise, there.

He went off to the Army Air Corp in 1940, won a medal for heroism in World War Two and spent 28 years in the Air Force.

He died at age 91 in March 2009 in Colorado Springs, forever known as the Santa Colonel.

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