Road Warrior Sculpture
A World War II Tribute
An Oldham County native, at age 91, Bruce Heilman never backs down from a good challenge. He also looks for special ways to celebrate his birthday, especially if it involves his Harley and bringing awareness to the contributions of WWII veterans to our nation. As national spokesperson for the Greatest Generation Foundation, Heilman rides his motorcycle across the country in honor of these special veterans.
When he turned 85, Heilman travelled to Sturgis, South Dakota with the president, chairman and senior officers of the Harley-Davidson Co. To mark his 86th birthday, he spent approximately 25 days traveling 9,200 miles among 34 states. On turning 88 he traveled to Alaska and on his 90th birthday, he rode from Richmond, VA to the west coast and back, celebrating Gold Star Families.
Earl Bruce Heilman is originally from Smithfield, Ky. He joined the United States Marine Corp in 1944 and was stationed in the South Pacific and Japan. Since then he has traveled extensively, covering more than 145 countries, escorting travel groups annually for over forty years.
Heilman is a founding member of the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, a member and former Chairman of the Board of the Marine Military Academy in Texas, Member and Chairman of the Board of the Marine Corps University at Quantico, member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia War Memorial Educational Foundation, board member of the Oldham County Historical Society and served for many years on the Board of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and is an emeritus board member of The Families of the Wounded Fund.
Heilman has served as president of several American colleges and universities and currently holds the position of Chancellor at the University of Richmond. During his long career, Heilman has held teaching and administrative positions at Belmont University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Georgetown College, Peabody College and Kentucky Southern College (now a part of the University of Louisville). He served as president of Meredith College from 1966 to 1971. From 1971 to 1986, he assumed the presidency of the University of Richmond.
Information about The Road Warrior Statue
The Road Warrior Stature is being created by local sculptor Wyatt Gragg. Gragg, a local HOG member and Harley rider is designing the sculpture so visitors can "hop" on and take a ride with Bruce. "I am excited to be a part of this venture and have deep respect and gratitude for World War II Veterans," stated Gragg.
Heilman's motorcycle is a special "Marine" issue with the Marine insignia on the side that was issued to veterans by the Harley Davidson Corporation.
Information about the Oldham County History Center from
Executive Director, Nancy Theiss
Our mission at the Oldham County History Center is to highlight the achievements of people in history from our community who have made a difference in the world from a local to global level. This mission, much like this banquet's mission, provides stories of inspiration. The stories of people in our community, be it a parent, grandparent, distant ancestor, a soldier, a local or national hero, or someone famous or someone little known reveal how they met the challenges of their day. Their stories give new leaders the courage and wisdom to confront the challenges of our time.
In 2002 we began the Veterans Oral History Project. Since that time we have recorded over 77 WWII veteran's oral histories and they are available online through the Louie B. Nuun Oral History Library at U of K. In addition we have created a WWII exhibit that contains artifacts, stories and various personal items from the veterans we have interviewed.
Today we are currently raising funds to create The Road Warrior Sculpture which is designed by local sculptor, Wyatt Gragg (please stand). This sculpture depicts WWII Veteran and National Spokesperson, Dr. Bruce Hielman, on his Marine issue Harley Davidson motorcycle as he has traveled across the United States, including Alaska, bringing attention to the sacrifices of WWII veterans and their contribution to the democracy that we enjoy today in our nation. As a farm boy who grew up in Oldham County, Bruce represents the thousands of soldiers who, like him, grew up in rural America, not realizing that the challenges of the Depression years would prepare them for the battlefields of the 2nd World War.
Visitors will be able to "hop" on and ride with Bruce in this interactive sculpture Road Warrior piece that will be placed at the outside entrance of our museum. A model of the sculpture is on the table.
On May 2, 2017, Bruce visited students at Oldham County High School
and talked about his life experiences.