Ken Hechler: Author

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While former West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler is running for that office again, he's also out promoting his latest book.

It's titled "Hero of the Rhine", and it's the biography of Lt. Karl Timmerman. During World War II, Timmerman was the first officer to cross the Leudendorf Bridge in the German town of Remagen.

"All during his childhood in West Point, Nebraska, Karl Timmerman and his family suffered prejudice which led him to join the Army to clear the family name," says Hechler. "His heroism at Remagen Bridge remained unappreciated until 50 years later, long after his death, when the town eventually acknowledged the significance of his exploit."

It's a sequel to a previous book Hechler wrote, "The Bridge at Remagen", and the subject is one he researched for year.

"It took a lot of work, several trips to Germany and trip to England," the former Secretary of State notes. "But putting it together was a lot of fun, and I think people are going to really enjoy this book."

Hechler says Lt. Timmerman's actions saved thousands of lives and helped to end the war in Europe. Much of Hechler's work on the project has taken place during the past four years he has been out of office. He was secretary of state from 1985 to 2001, and lost a bid for Congress in 2000.

The book will soon be available at West Virginia bookstores.