Inge (Gaertig) Harte-North was born in Poland after her family was displaced from Romania following World War II. They traveled to Germany then oversees when the family was accepted with other refugees to come to the U.S. The Gaertig family settled in the countryside in Grant County. When Inge’s father passed away, she, her five siblings, and her mom moved into Marion.
Inge graduated from Marion High School, then took workshops in video production and communications to teach herself the trade. She worked for different companies but mainly through the local cable TV provider where she dedicated nearly 30 years of her life into retirement. Aside from her career, she became involved with promoting other organizations and events happening in the community. Some work was paid, and much of it was not and continues to be voluntary. She dedicated three years volunteering for the local Muscular Dystrophy Association in the mid-1980s through a ‘cable-thon’ and attracting supporters.
While her local show, “Someplace Special in Grant County,” was getting a lot of attention, she was approached by Ray Johnson, the coordinator of the Fly/In Cruise/In, to help promote their annual event showcasing unique and classic air and auto craft from all over the world in Marion. She accepted the opportunity to help the local nonprofit in its 2nd year in existence. To this day, Harte-North has loyally promoted and raised awareness of the event through videos and much more. Through her involvement, they provide a ‘video magazine’ from interviews of many aircraft and automobile owners found on the Fly/In Cruise/In YouTube Channel including archives of shows originally aired through the cable network. She also created social media for the event. Harte-North serves as President of Fly/In Cruise/In, Inc., a 501c3 organization.
Johnson expressed that Harte-North’s dedication to the event has been unmeasurable. “Since Inge took interest, our event has grown at incredible pace. Her video production and event planning leadership experience has been beyond measure in the longevity of the Fly/In Cruise/In.”
All efforts to make the event possible are through volunteers, and Harte-North explained that her passion has always been making people shine, especially volunteers. “That’s what keeps our community going, and it’s fun. It’s a feel-good experience to be able to help other human beings in this world.” She touted the longstanding event’s great number of volunteers, noting the Grant County Rescue Mission and partners who have most recently been coordinating the event’s traditional Pancake Breakfast for the past few years in order to help their organization and mission while helping the Fly/In Cruise/In.