Article contributed by Mark Leevan
April Kauffman had a dream when she toured the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. What if the Wounded Warriors from nearby Fort Campbell and Fort Knox could be honored with a special caravan from the posts to the Museum. Her two-year dream came true when cars picked up troops from the two army bases and delivered them to the National Corvette Museum and General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly Plant for a full day of activities.
The caravan, escorted by Kentucky State Police, left the museum at 7 a.m. Thursday, with some cars going to Fort Campbell and the rest going to Fort Knox. As one group toured the museum, the other toured the plant.
Trooper Jonathan Biven, spokesman for KSP Post 3 in Bowling Green, said twelve troopers from three different posts escorted the Corvette caravan to and from the Army posts and the museum.
Kaufmann owns a Corvette and when it was ordered, the R8C option to pick up the car at the museum was included. She is active with the Red Cross and has met with Wounded Warriors in New Jersey and also made a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to visit a local woman’s wounded son.
When Kauffman approached the Museum’s executive director Wendell Strode with the idea, the staff embraced the concept and the Corvette community made it happen.
“They could have thought I was a stark raving lunatic,” she said of suggesting the idea to bring soldiers to the museum. “We think it’s only fitting that America’s sports car – the Chevrolet Corvette – shows its appreciation to American warriors,” Strode said.
Strode, a Vietnam War veteran who was injured in combat in 1969, went to Walter Reed with Kauffman last summer, where planning for Thursday’s event began to take shape.
Mobil 1 Racing donated $10,000 to the event, as well as a backpack and hat for each of the warriors, Strode said.
Janice Cheairs, 56, a resident of Denham Springs and a Corvette owner, was one of the many drivers from about 15 states who volunteered to help Thursday. Cheairs and her husband made the journey to Bowling Green to participate in the event.
Cheairs said the most rewarding part of the day was spending time with the soldier she picked up from Fort Knox.
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