Boss bike: Bruce signs Harley for charity

When the Rolling Stones came through town back in 2005, logger Rich Palermo thought he'd gotten the biggest fundraising thrill of his lifetime: Mick, Keith, Ron, and Charlie all signed a 2005 Harley Davidson which was raffled off to benefit UVA Children's Hospital to the tune of $55,000.

Well, Palermo's fundraising thrill-o-meter just topped out again. This year, one lucky raffle winner will be riding down Thunder Road on a custom-painted 2008 Harley Davidson Cross Bones adorned with the signatures of Bruce Springsteen and members of the E Street Band. Sans signatures, the bike has a $16,000 price tag, says Palermo.

"I about fell over," says Palermo of hearing the news that Springsteen was on board for the fundraiser. Getting permission took months, says Palermo, who has been a supporter of the Children's Hospital through the organization Log-A-Load for Kids for more than a decade. Palermo says he had to assure Springsteen's management that the rocker wouldn't be endorsing the raffle's sponsors–- Shenandoah Harley Davidson and various loggers, foresters, and sawmills. Springsteen and the band, Palermo promised, would just be helping sick kids by raising as much as $250,000, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to the hospital.

Palermo took the bike, painted with stars and stripes,to John Paul Jones Arena the night of the concert, April 30, and a gracious Springsteen took paint-pen to metal. E-Streeters soon followed. Palermo says he didn't get to hang with the Boss for long, but describes him as "friendly" and "warm," posing for pictures and smiling.

"It was great!" gushes Palermo, a 30-plus-year Springsteen fan.

Want a chance to get wings for wheels? There are 2,500 $100 tickets being sold in this year's raffle, and a winner will be picked on August 16 at 3pm at McIntire Park. The 2,499 who don't win the bike, Palermo says, are still winners. The $100 tickets count as a tax deductible donation to the Hospital.

Tickets are available at UVA Children's Hospital Development Office, Shenandoah Harley Davidson in Staunton, Snooky's Pawn Shop, ACAC and Plan 9. For more information, contact Log-A-Load for Kids at 434-841-3472 or email Rich Palermo at richpale@earthlink.net.

2 comments

thanks for the feel good story, rich and his hard work should be applauded!!!

Tickets are also available at Carpet Plus located at 1739 Allied Street in McIntire Business Park. On May 31st, Carpet Plus is giving customers a chance to win two tickets for the bike! Z95.1 will be broadcasting live from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and free coffee and pastries from Cville Coffee will be served.