by Jim Young

Regional Director, Davis County

Union Pacific Railroad has been on the national scene since 1862–150 years with the largest railroad network in the U.S.  UP was and is a huge player in the settlement and economic development of the American West.  They had an early impact on Utah’s history when the joining of the first transcontinental railroad from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Francisco, California which occurred at Promontory Point, Utah in May of 1869.  Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, they have 31,000 miles of track, 8,000 locomotives and 44,000 employees in 23 states.

Over the decades, UP has had more than a passing interest in the communities that grew in its path.  Indeed, that social consciousness has not been more manifest than here in Utah.  For many years Union Pacific has enthusiastically supported a United Way of Salt Lake employee giving campaign.  Recently, Dan Harbeke, the phenomenal Director of Public Affairs for UP (and a great friend) awarded United Way of Salt Lake $5,000 from the Union Pacific Foundation for our Community Impact work.  UWSL was among a few dozen nonprofits in the Intermountain West to receive grants.  At the awards ceremony, I drew an analogy to the childhood story of Johnny Appleseed.  “Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed traveled about the country planting apple seeds along the way.  The trees grew and provided beautiful fragrant flowers in the spring, cooling shade in the summer, and delicious fruit in the fall and winter.  Everywhere he went, Johnny left in his path a better, more beautiful world.  Like Johnny Appleseed, Union Pacific passes through many communities and like him, everywhere they go and in every community they touch, they leave a better place behind.”

Thank you Dan Harbeke and Union Pacific–you truly LIVE UNITED!

Jim Young and Dan Harbeke