BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- A Huey Helicopter is currently under restoration at Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green. One of the main driving forces behind the project is Scottsville native, Gerald Roark. Several friends lovingly call him "Tanker."
"Well, I got involved with it because for one thing, I was in the airforce for 21 years and then I flew corporate aviation for a number of years here in Bowling Green," says Roark.
He currently serves as the Chairman of the Restoration Committee for Aviation Heritage Park, meaning he's one of the main volunteers working to restore the Huey.
Past President of the Park, Bob Pitchford, describes Roark's work as impeckable, and others sing similar praises.
"He's very detail oriented. He really likes for things to be done right. He's a very smart guy, very talented, and just the kind of guy you need doing something like this," says Arnie Franklin, Director Emertis of Aviation Heritage Park.
Roark has done everything from pick out the helicopter and help organize its transportation to Bowling Green, to planning the restoration needed to get it completed by the deadline this Summer for the annual Hangar Party.
"This vehicle actually flew in Vietnam for a couple of years and it's got a pretty colorful history," says Roark, pointing to the Huey. "As far as stuff it did in Vietnam because this was part of an organization called the 20th Special Operation Squadrant, and they were the Navy Seals and the Rangers, that sort of thing."
"Even though we have a team of people who are working on the helicopter, Tanker is hovering over them and saying, "You need to do this better" or "Why don't you do it this way?" adds Franklin.
Although this Huey has no intentions of ever flying again, it does have big plans to make an impact in the lives of many.
"They (people in the community) get an opportunity to walk around the airplanes and look at them and touch them and see what they're really like, as opposed to seeing them on video or a picture in a book or something like that," says Roark.
He says he's worked on several restoration projects since becoming the committee's chairman in 2010.
"It was several years ago, several projects ago, and he and I have worked together restoring all of our artifacts," adds Franklin.
Roark says it's not only the history he loves restoring, but the future that he sees after finishing a restoration.
"It gives the older generation the opportunity to maybe reminise about what they did in the past, but also it instills in young kids the desire to fly maybe," Roark says.
"Gerald is -- not only is he a good technition -- but he has a real big heart. He understands the history behind the artifacts, he understands the need for it to be correct when anyone walks up and sees our work," Pitchford tells 13 News.
And every detail of this restoration counts. From the seats, to the upcoming paint job, and fixing every little mark of age. There's still quite a bit of work left to get this helicopter ready for a final reveal.
"We've got a couple parts that go on the side here and a couple of parts that are missing here that are going to be required before we put it on," says Roark, walking around the Huey.
But none of process would be possible without someone leading the efforts to get it restored.
Franklin says, "He gives to the community, through Aviation Heritage Park, and you need to have those people who do that to make the community what it is."
"He's a hero in my opinion, and in the Aviation Heritage Park world," says Pitchford.
For his hard work, time devoted to each restoration, dedication to every project, and making sure that the history of aircrafts such as these turn into stories shared today, we honor Gerald "Tanker" Roark as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.