Seconds later, the intruder decided to leave the house and fled down the road, with the bat-wielding senior citizen in hot pursuit.
With help from neighbors and law enforcement, the 39-year-old man with a criminal record was captured and is now serving time in prison.
For most people, this would be the ultimate traumatic experience of a lifetime, but for this battle-tested member of the 149th Tank Company of the 38th Infantry Division, it's just another chapter in an adventure-filled existence.
From the early days when he served as an assistant scout master "who couldn't swim a lick," to military duty that took him around the globe, Slade has been a man of service to his country and community.
He continues to write a newsletter for the rapidly dwindling fellow soldiers and family members of his army unit nicknamed the Cyclone Division. And in addition to his duties at the museum, he and wife Dorothy have long led efforts to reclaim and maintain three local cemeteries.
The community service efforts have earned him recognition in Steve Flairty's book "Kentucky's Everyday Heroes."
You'll find him at the museum nearly every Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., usually accompanied by five or six other volunteers.
"When we opened in 1994, we had trouble finding help, but now we sometimes have more volunteers than visitors, especially on Fridays," he says.
"We had a lot of nerve calling it a museum when we opened because we only had 15 or 20 items in one big room, but donations starting coming in quickly," he says.
Now housed in the old Rohs Theatre built in 1922, and once a roller rink operated by the American Legion, the museum includes hundreds of artifacts. Most relate to Harrison County including long-gone businesses and schools.
Among the more unique items is a state map with each of the 120 counties outlined in different color buttons.
This was an effort of a local resident who undertook the project in the 1960s while recuperating from a heart attack.
Slade and the museum also were instrumental in uncovering ties between the community and the famed Raggedy Ann dolls.
Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, granddaughter of Raggedy Ann creator Johnny Gruelle, was in Cynthiana seeking information about her great-grandfather, R. B. Gruelle, who was born there in 1851.
Slade shared stories with Wannamaker about her ancestors and put her in touch with another community leader interested in promoting tourism.
That connection led to Wannamaker aiding the community in establishing a Raggedy Ann Festival in Cynthiana.
A section near the front of the museum now houses a small collection of items related to the famous dolls.
Also among the collection are items from Slade's past, including a silk shirt made by his mother from materials he sent her from the war zone and several vintage toys he played with as a boy.
He has a new bat, courtesy of the folks at the Louisville Slugger factory in Louisville who invited him and his family down for a tour after reading about his run-in with the intruder.
But don't expect to see the old bat on display at the museum anytime soon.
"I'm keeping it at home in case I ever need it again," he says.
Columnist Don White has served as editor at several newspapers in Kentucky. His Kentucky Traveler features are published throughout the state. Contact him at www.thekytraveler.com.