Today’s Helping Heroes: Joe, Justin, Rudy and the Heroes Run

This year was the final run of the Heroes Run. The Heroes Run is a motorcycle rally, bike show, family-friendly party and fundraiser. The main event is the raffle of a custom built motorcycle. This year's bike is a 1973 Harley Davidson shovelhead chopper built by Robbie Clarke. The founders of the Heroes Run (pictured left to right), Joe, Rudy and Justin donate the proceeds from the ride and rally to Connor's Heroes. 

1) Why did you start the Heroes Run?

My good friend Justin and I were spending many nights in his garage building my first chopper. We've both been blessed with good lives and the ability to take care of ourselves and our family. We felt that we had a strong urge to give back to people who were less fortunate than us. After we discussed recipients of our charitable work, it was an easy decision to focus on children. I reached out to a few people and Connor's Heroes quickly came to the top of charities who we wanted to work with. Once I got on the phone with Lisa Goodwin, it was a no-brainer. She welcomed us with open arms. I believed in her cause and appreciated her attitude towards us; a couple of motorcycle dudes who didn't know what they were doing but wanted to give back. Five years later and we’re hoping to wrap up our adventure with Connor's Heroes with close to $50K of charitable donations. We'll need everyone coming out this year to help us get to that goal!

2) Thinking back over the past Heroes Run, what was your most memorable moment?

There are many memorable moments, but I think the biggest moment and best moment for me, was the 2nd Heroes Run when we gave away the first chopper. Justin worked his face off getting that bike ready. I'm so proud to call him a friend. I don't know many people who would put in the work that he did to get that bike done. It started off as a basket case of parts, engine completely disassembled, and we scrounged up missing parts. We had no clue what we signed up to do. We formed new relationships with vendors who had no idea who we were, but they gave us parts for free because they believed in our cause. It was all so inspiring. But what made it the most memorable Heroes Run was that moment when we announced the winner. I'll never forget the excitement of Mark from Charlottesville yelling loudly that he was the winner. Even better was the crowd's cheer shortly after as everyone was super excited for him winning. Through that chopper, we all combined as a group and I felt like we all collectively worked together to raise money for children who really needed every penny more than any of us could ever imagine. It was the ultimate in inspiration.

3) Name a hero in your life and why.

I have many people in my life that I have looked up to and do look up to. I can't just name one hero. But in regards to what we do with Heroes Run, every single child that is affected by cancer is my hero. I cannot imagine what they're going through and I am very proud to help them out in any capacity we can. The strength they show me each time I meet them is humbling.