A Passion for Paying it Forward

Local attorney and retired Army Officer Karl Truman is a constant contributor to the veteran community. Having spent 28 years in the United States Army Reserve before retiring in 2009 as a lieutenant colonel, his list of causes is ever-expanding around a central commitment to honor those among us with the utmost dedication to country.

Karl Truman with a veteran.

Karl Truman with a veteran.

As Karl Truman Law Office celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, he reflects on the many opportunities he’s had to show support. “One of my passions is helping veterans,” Truman says, “and especially those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy. It’s kind of my way of giving back, to show appreciation for what they’ve done.”

He participated in a particularly unique chance to give back this summer, bringing a piece of history to the eldest veterans in the community. On a quiet Friday in August, Truman enabled four World War II veterans to take to the sky in a B-25 bomber, an icon of aerial combat introduced and made famous during the same war.

Truman has served on the board of the Honor Flight Bluegrass Chapter for the last three years. The nonprofit volunteer organization pays tribute to American veterans with events throughout Kentucky, prioritizing senior veterans in the community for their valiance decades ago. Together with Honor Flight, Truman co-sponsored the bomber’s appearance in Louisville. “I think it’s the responsibility of local businesses to contribute back to the community,” he says.

Prior to Honor Flight’s B-25 Flightless Dinner for WWII Veterans on August 12, Truman and the selected veterans took off from Bowman Field for a special flight in the twin-engine aircraft. The event coincided with Spirit of ’45 day, an annual national holiday commemorating the end of World War II.

“I got to go up with them, and that was a great experience,” Truman recalls. “One veteran that I sat with was actually awarded a Purple Heart in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I know they were all so appreciative of getting to go up in the bomber.”

The plane’s prominence in American military history comes from its use during the Tokyo Raid, during which Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led an air strike on Japan shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, boosting American morale at an otherwise frightening and uncertain time. “It looks like a really large airplane, but when you’re inside, it feels really small,” Truman explains. “To think about flying those off an air carrier and being attacked – it’s just an amazing feeling to think about the bravery that these men exhibited to accomplish what they did.”

The veterans who enjoyed the flight were chosen on a first-come first-served basis. “I put the word out on social media and contacted the local American Legion chapter that I belong to and started getting some suggestions. We just selected the first ones that were able to go.”

Though the B-25 flight holds a special place in Truman’s long list of contributions, he promptly moved forward to subsequent worthwhile events including the Warrior Empowerment Foundation’s recent annual fundraiser and Seven Counties’ Run with Our Heroes 5K on November 6. Still, he recalls the flight with utmost fondness and hopes to see the bomber in the future.

“If the opportunity arises next year, I would certainly like to show my support again for our World War II veterans. They’re becoming fewer and fewer every day.” VT