Three grand marshals will be honored during this year’s Steel Days in American Fork. Former mayor James H. Hadfield, who passed away earlier this year, will be honored posthumously. His wife, Elaine Hadfield, has also been named Grand Marshal and resident Kevin Ballairgeon has been named Junior Grand Marshal.
According to American Fork Mayor Brad Frost, the three were chosen by the Steel Days committee because of their positive contributions to the city.
“They are good neighbors and good friends,” he said.
“Elaine has taught music lessons and influenced people in our community for decades,” Frost said. “Many people have been blessed by her.”
In fact, according to Elaine Hadfield, she has been teaching piano lessons in American Fork during her entire married life – 53 years. “Some students have gone on to do their own piano teaching,” she said.
During those 53 years, the Hadfields lived in the same home, adding onto it and making modifications as they raised their family. “My husband was a man of all trades,”she said.
Eventually, the family room in the home was transformed into a studio where countless students have gained a love for music and performed in recitals.
Throughout the years, James Hadfield helped and supported Elaine’s musical contributions. He also contributed to the community in his own ways, serving in the Utah National Guard and working as an engineer for American Fork. More recently, he spent two terms serving the residents as mayor of American Fork before passing away earlier this year.
During the last two years of working as mayor, James Hadfield was fighting colon cancer; but that did not slow him down. He still did mayoral duties every day, according to Elaine Hadfield. “He just went ahead with the work and never complained,” she said. “He would often have to stop to take a nap, but then would continue with his day.”
This year, there will be a junior grand marshal as well. American Fork Junior High student Kevin Baillargeon, 13, will be honored with the title. Kevin was born with phocomelia syndrome and has no arms or legs. Just last month, Kevin was presented with a van, purchased through fundraising efforts by several schools and community members.
“The community celebrated to get that van,” Frost said. Kevin’s tenacity and determination are contagious. “Kevin has influenced a number of people. He has overcome his limitations with a positive attitude. He is a wonderful, cheerful young man.”