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Veteran takes ‘ride’ through Oldham

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By Taylor Riley

 

He may be 88, but one can’t say Dr. E. Bruce Heilman is boring.

The biker has rode to 48 states on his Harley-Davidson and to celebrate his upcoming birthday, he will be crossing a 49th state off his bucket list.

The adventurer, a native of Oldham County, was a marine stationed in the Pacific during World War II. The ride will most likely be one of the last great motorcycle rides by a member of the WWII generation, with the death rate of veterans at approximately 30,000 a month, according to Heilman.

Heilman began his 10,000-mile journey from Richmond, Va. to Alaska earlier this week and stopped to greet friends and fellow Campbellsville University alumni in La Grange.

“I’m a free bird,” Heilman said. “I wanted to prove that age 88, you can do as you please.”

Heilman has spent the last few birthdays on the back of his bike. For his 84th birthday in 2010, he rode from Virginia to San Diego and back. For his 85th birthday, he traveled to Sturgis, S.D. with the president, chairman and senior officers of the Harley-Davidson Company. He circled 48 states for his 86th birthday, and travelled to 14 states the following year.

Why does Heilman brush off his leathers every year? His answer is quite simple.

“I do it because I can,” Heilman said.

Email us about this story at taylorriley@oldhamera.com.