A great American

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By The Staff

 Oldham County native Dr. E. Bruce Heilman received a Great American Award in December from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. Made evident by his work ethic and devotion to country, Heilman’s life and career reflect the values of a great American. 

When his brother enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, Heilman followed because he wanted to serve his country. Heilman wrote about the influence the military had on his life in the book, “An Interruption that Lasted a Lifetime.” Heilman fought in Okinawa, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Similar to others from his generation, he started with very little and worked hard, eventually rising to national prominence in higher education.  

His life, like College of the Ozarks – a small Christian college in southwest Missouri where students work for their education – reflects the American dream made possible by faith, hope and hard work.

That evening, Palin received the inaugural Great American Award and then assisted the college in presenting Great American Awards to John Cipolla, Wilson Colwell, Alvin Henderson, Brigadier Gen. Tommy Bell, Maj. Gen. Jerry Ragsdale, Heilman and Sherry Nickel Herschend.

Heilman is chancellor at the University of Richmond. He has served as president of two universities and has served as chairman of the boards for the Marine Corps University and the Marine Military Academy, the Maine Heritage Foundation and the Marine Association. He is founder and member of the Commandant’s Circle in the Museum of the Marines. Heilman married his college sweetheart, Betty Dobbins and they raised five children.