Harold Ward (Inducted in 2014)
Harold was born in Skaneateles, N.Y., Aug. 21, 1921 during the Great Depression and grew up like any other boy in that day with hard times. His father shared his love of motorcycles with him, but never owned one. As a teen, Harold took advantage of the cold winters and enjoyed playing ice hockey on the lakes.
December 7th, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, at the age of 20, Harold enlisted into the US Marine Corp. He did his boot training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He then signed up for an elite group of men known as the "1st Raiders". They were like the Army Rangers or Green Beret.
After finishing boot camp, he and the "1st Raiders" were the first group to be sent to the South Pacific to land on a small island named Guadalcanal. Harold was in a machine gun squad and was armed with a Thompson sub machine gun and a Colt 1911 .45acp pistol along with a Karbar fighting knife. These knives were specifically made for the Raiders. The Raiders were to take out Japanese communications and secure the air field for the Army.
Harold didn't ever talk about the fighting or his fellow Raiders and what they each experienced. He went on to fight on Tulagi then on to Bougainville in the Solomon Islands where he was wounded by shrapnel and was sent back stateside to recover. He finished his tour of duty stateside.
Harold received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His records don't show what he did to receive the Bronze star, but it's for an act of bravery in combat. After recovering from his battle wounds, he was put into the motor pool where he worked on jeeps, cars and what else, Harleys! He was discharged in 1947, moved to California where he went to work for Salinas Harley Davidson as a mechanic and started riding enduros and scrambles racing.
Some times after work he and a few other guys would ride out to the desert and chase jack rabbits just for fun! After two years Harold moved back to upstate Rochester, New York where he took a job with Frank Hennen. As a Harley mechanic he picked up where he left off in California, riding enduros, scrambles and play riding in the East Rochester sand pits off Linden Ave.
Harold met the two Ubalacker brothers who were class "A" hill climbers. He followed along with them and became a class "A" hill climber also, winning a few nationals along the way. Then in 1955 Harold opened his own motorcycle shop, "Rochester Indian" in Rochester N.Y. on Lyell Ave. There he became a Triumph dealer and also sold Vespa, Norton's and other brands of motorcycles. Harold was well versed in woods riding, flat tracking, road racing, ice racing, and one heck of a mechanic!
Harold sponsored many a rider over his years of being in business. In 1971 he went into partnership with Frank Hennen who sold Honda motorcycles. He stayed with Frank till 1974 when he left and reopened a shop on West Main St. in Rochester N.Y. He ran this shop till 1977, and closed it to move to the sunny warm state of Florida.
In Florida, his first job was with a Triumph shop in St. Petersburg. It wasn't long before he knew he had to open his own shop and that's just what he did. In 1978 he bought a small shop already named Cycle Emporium in Clearwater, Florida where he repaired all makes of motorcycles. He joined a motorcycle club called the Sun Coast Trail Blazers and helped put on a lot of enduros outside the Croom National Forest in Brooksville, Florida. He rode the Alligator Enduro at Daytona Beach, Florida, 33 times in his career.
He came down with cancer in the summer of 1992 and passed that winter. Harold was then, and is still, a motorcycle legend.