By Alexandria Swanger, communications assistant, Office of University Communications
LAGRANGE, Ky.–“It is said that nothing happens unless first a dream.”
Dr. E Bruce Heilman, a Campbellsville Junior College 1949 alumnus and Campbellsville University Board of Trustees member as well as chancellor at the University of Richmond, addressed a group of Harley Davidson riders at the Road Warrior Rally on Aug. 11 in Louisville.
Organized by the Oldham County Historical Society, the event’s purpose was to raise money for a life sized World War II memorial statue that will be modeled after Heilman, a WWII Marine Corps veteran, riding his Marine issued Harley Davidson.
At 92 years old, he has ridden over 100,000 miles on his bike across the country and in all 50 states to raise awareness as a representive for Gold Star Families, families of United States military members who have died in battle, and as a spokeman for The Greatest Generations Foundation.
Heilman, a native of LaGrange, Ky, told the crowd,“I was unloading my things from my motorcycle at the hotel earlier when a woman passed by me. She went into the hotel and told the front desk staff that she ‘thought they should know that an old man was stealing from one of their guest’s motorcycles in the parkinglot.’ To which the staff replied ‘That’s his motorcycle so he must be stealing from himself.’”
The group, with Heilman at the helm and a police escort ahead of them, rode their motorcycles through 80 miles of scenic routes. After departing from the Bluegrass Harley Davidson in Louisville, they arrived at The Oldham County Historical Society in LaGrange, where Heilman is featured among the veterans who have submitted pieces of their past from the war and oral history accounts.
They rode to have dinner together at Gustavo’s Mexican Grill where Heilman personally thanked the Jefferson and Oldham counties sheriff’s departments for their “excellent service” during the ride.
The rally garnered the support of over 62 participants who arrived to ride and contribute to the project.
“I had people tell me that the only reason they came and participated today is because they saw his video,” said Emily Stewart, an Oldham County Historical Society board member who was responsible for organizing the fundraiser.
The video, along with a GoFundMe page, has been used to raise awareness about the endeavor and to ask for support through donations so that they can begin construction. The statue will be interactive and will be placed on the corner in front of the Historical Society where guests can climb up and “take a ride with Bruce.”
For more information or to make a contribution to the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/the-road-warrior-sculpture or www.oldhamcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 10,000 students offering over 90 programs of study including 20 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty withinstructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville, all in Kentucky, and one in Costa Mesa, Calif., and a full complement of online programs.