Harry Cohen was only 17 when in 2011, the Williams High School quarterback took some of his grandmother's pain meds to recover from a football game.
He never woke up.
This weekend, his alma mater plays host to a full-length film inspired by Harry's life. The movie is called "Find a Way" and was made by Cornelius Muller, a trainer who mentored and was inspired by Harry Cohen.
You can watch "Find A Way" at Williams High School in Burlington Friday through Sunday January 4-6 at 6:00 or 8:00 p.m. each night.
As the nation continues to grieve over the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, several mental health professionals and aid organizations have set up Newtown, Connecticut, to assist those affected by the tragedy. Here's a list of organizations in town and how to help:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund: Provides support services through United Way's Western Connecticut chapter. Make out checks to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank 39 Main St., Newtown CT 06470. Make an online donation at newtown.uwwesternct.org/.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund: A former Sandy Hook student has set up a Crowdwise account to raise money for those affected by the shooting. Proceeds will benefit the Sandy Hook PTSA. Donate directly at crowdwise.com/SHSRelief.
Newtown Memorial Fund: Aims to help families pay for funeral costs. Donations may be send to Newtown Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 596, Botsford, CT 06404.
Newtown Youth & Family Services: All donations made to the organization will benefit those affected by the shootings. The non-profit will also provide emergency counseling for families, community members and staff involved in the tragedy. Mail checks to Newtown Youth & Family Services, 15 Berkshire Rd. Sandy Hook, CT 06482.
Emilie Parker Memorial Fund: Family and friends of the Parker family have set up a Facebook page and PayPal account to help pay for the funeral of six-year-old Emilie Parker. Learn more at facebook.com/EmilieParkerFund.
Project Linus: This nonprofit has arranged to send more than 700 handmade blankets to children affected by the shootings. Donate directly to projectlinus.org/donations.
American Red Cross: More than 100 Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 400 stuffed animals to children attending Sunday night's memorial service. The organization is asking supporters to reach out to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund at newtown.uwwesternct.org/.
Support the Family of Noah Pozner: Sympathy cards supporting the family of six-year-old victim Noah Pozner may mailed to: Friends of Maddie 1534 North Moorpark Rd., Suite 284, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.
HOW TO HELP The Red Cross has a massive response to Sandy underway that spans multiple states. “The people in this country have always been wonderful when it comes to helping others. The Red Cross needs their support again as we help people affected by this devastating storm,” Shimanski said.
People can make a financial donation in support of Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Nearly 360 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled due to the storm, representing a loss of as many as 12,000 blood and platelet products. The Red Cross is asking people who are eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, to schedule a blood donation now.
To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.
The Hurricane App, which also contains safety tips on what people should do after the storm, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. To register on Safe and Well, people can visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
If you need extra help making ends meet this holiday season, the deadline is fast approaching to get help from the Salvation Army. You have to register for the Salvation Army 2012 Christmas Assistance Program by the end of this week and it's only for children 12 years old and younger.
To receive toy assistance, you must apply in person and bring with you:
-a valid photo ID
-a social security card for everyone in the home
-proof of children's ages (only birth certificates are accepted)
-proof of income (paycheck stubs, child support letters, social security letters, unemployment statements, SSI statements, and disability statements)
-proof of expenses (monthly bills, lease & mortgage statements, electric, water, gas, and phone bill)
-If applicant has someone furnishing shelter and/or paying expenses, a letter stating this information must be written by the individual providing assistance and attached to the application
-3 "Wish List" toy ideas totalling $75
-Clothing sizes for all children in the home
In Greensboro, Friday, October 19th is the last day to register. Sign up at 821 South Aycock Street from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. (On Thursday, the hours are from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.)
In Winston-Salem, the deadline is Thursday, October 18th. The office is at 680 Peters Creek Parkway and hours are from 8:30am- 4:30pm.
People living in High Point or Jamestown must apply with the Salvation Army in High Point. 121 SW Cloverleaf Place. (336) 881-5444
Anyone receiving Christmas assistance from another agency may NOT apply for assistance with the Salvation Army.
Today, Friday September 21, 2012 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. In 1979, Congress passed a resolution for a day of remembrance and recognition for all those who, because of their service to our nation, were Prisoners of War or Missing in Action, and in support of the families they left behind.
According to the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office or DPMO, which as of December 1, 2011 has taken responsibility from U.S Central Command to account for missing U.S. personnel, there are more than 600 Department of Defense workers committed to finding and repatriating the remains of those who have been listed as either a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. Their mission statement is to fulfill the promises our service members themselves swore to uphold, simply to “Leave no man behind”. The truth is that they will not uphold that promise or meet that expectation and don’t even intend to; instead, they will be satisfied with the lesser goal of merely identifying the final resting places of the more than 83,000 U.S. personnel who became missing while serving our nation.
The raw numbers are staggering, as are the number of years that have elapsed since the majority failed to be returned to their families. During WWII, over 400,000 Americans died with more than 73,000 still listed as ‘unaccounted for’. There are 7,500 unaccounted for from the Korean War, more than 1,600 missing from Viet Nam, 126 from the Cold War Era, 6 from Iraq and 1 from the war in Afghanistan. All of these people, Americans, service members and civilians share one thing in common; they are listed as presumed dead by the United States government. All except one.
That one is Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl of Ketchum, Idaho who is known to be alive and in the hands of the enemy.
Sgt. Bergdahl was captured on June 30, 2009 in Paktika province in Afghanistan. Since then, there have been either three or five proof of life videos, depending on which source you count, released by Al-Qaeda and Taliban groups, the most recent being a sighting in a video with Haqqani leader Mullah Sangeen Zadran. The Haqqani network is a Pakistani-based group affiliated with both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban under the Muslim aegis of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The primary problem at this juncture is verifying both by whom and where Sgt. Bergdahl is being held. While it is believed he is in Pakistan, and demands for his release include the release of specific, named prisoners being held both at Guantanamo and Bagram, tracking down and authenticating who has the authority to make this kind of deal is at best problematic.
It is generally believed that Bergdahl was captured by one group inside Afghanistan and then quickly moved and ‘sold’ to another group across the border in Pakistan. It is also believed that he has been moved nearly constantly in the more than three years since he was taken prisoner. As it is understood, those who originally captured this American soldier believed he was valuable, both for ransom and as a bargaining chip, as well as for the propaganda value he could provide for whoever held him. Of course, the United States official policy is not to negotiate with terrorists or kidnappers, a policy quite carefully spelled out on DPMO’s website as “The policy of the United States, to never offer remuneration for the return of captured personnel, serves as a deterrent to hostage-takers and is one of the keys to protecting our service members” but which seems to be contradicted by reports of a possible deal being discussed as of January, 2012. In that deal, senior state department officials acknowledged preliminary negotiations to release five Gitmo prisoners, all senior Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders for one American. When no further details were released and seemingly no progress was being made, the parents of Sgt. Bergdahl released a statement in June of this year expressing their frustration with the lack of progress in either securing the release or affecting the rescue of their son.
At the same time, the recently released controversial book “No Easy Day” by former Navy SEAL Matt Bisonnette, written under the guerre de plume Mark Owen detailing the mission that killed Osama Bid Laden contains information on a mission he believes was a rescue attempt of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. In the book, the former SEAL states that they had missed the American POW by a matter of mere hours at most. Since the release of the book, officials have acknowledged that mission under condition of anonymity. Sgt. Bergdahl’s family has also admitted being made aware of the attempt, though whether they were informed at the time or subsequent to the planned publication of the book is not clear. This mission took place in 2010, and as far as is publicly known, it is the last time a rescue operation has been attempted.
I do not believe it is important or even appropriate most of the time for the American people to be privy to all the strategies, discussions and plans our government considers when addressing the war and terrorists. I agree that the stated policy of not offering remuneration for the return of personnel does not mean that we will not broker a deal with the enemy to secure the release of our people. However, I do not believe it is possible to deal in good faith with this enemy; that the only way to win the release of Sgt. Bergdahl is through military action, the bolder and bloodier for his captors the better. I believe that it will be in our national best interest to cause as much collateral damage as possible during this hypothetical rescue, thereby letting it be known that the cost for daring to take one of ours prisoner will be higher than they could have possibly imagined. I believe that the day after Bergdahl was confirmed to be a prisoner of war, the United States government’s message should have been a very simple communique along the lines of “release our personnel and we may let you live. Continuing to hold him, or even thinking about harming him will result in the total and complete destruction of your world”, or words to that effect. However, I’m not a military strategist, just an outraged American.
Truth be told, the lion’s share of my outrage is reserved for our media for not having this story at the top of the hour, every hour since he was captured. I cannot believe that had there been the glare of the national spotlight on this issue that Sgt. Bergdahl would more than three years later remain a prisoner of war. I’m having a hard time deciding whom I hold more responsible, a government who has historically abandoned prisoners of war all over the world or a media that has completely abdicated it’s duty to act as the Fourth Estate.
So today, as it is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, take a moment and become aware that there is an American prisoner of war, that his name is Bowe R. Bergdahl and that we need to bring him home.