Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cutts, Mitts, and Grunts

I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger right now. I just can't seem to keep up with the number of stories and other requests coming in to the newsroom right now.

All of us in media are keeping tabs on the Cutts' jury selection. I'll be interested to see how they come up with the final dozen. With all of the pre-trial publicity and the death penalty specification, there's a lot to consider when paring down the mammoth pool of potential jurors. We're making plans for a 30-minute special on Channel 3 looking at the history of the case and what we should expect from the trial. Reporter Chris Tye and I are muling the majority of the special's contents .. and trying to deliver new insight without violating the case's gag rule.

I have soom good news to pass along. I was really excited to deliver some sports equipment to some local troops deploying to Iraq. I had about a dozen baseball/softball mitts along with 10 bats and a bunch of other sports gear still available from the "Mitts for Military" campaign I helped lead nearly two years ago.

At the time, I'd hoped to help 2-3 companies, or about 500 soldiers. To date, MFM has provided sports equipment to 16 companies and more than 2,000 troops ... including members from each branch of the service. Thanks so much to Terry Pluto for his column and for collection and publicity support from the Chapel and WAKR radio.

This most recent time time, we delivered a complete set of equipment to soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard's C-Company, 237th, just before they pulled out of their armory on Hawkins Avenue earlier this month. The group's First Sergeant was happy to get the equipment, which will come in handy for the troops to pass time at their mobilization station and later in Iraq. It was a good feeling to see the last of the equipment delivered to real troops who can use it; thank you again to all of you who took the time to contribute.

Speaking of helping the troops, Paul Hickman from Cuyahoga Falls continues his quest to provide musical instruments to troops overseas through "Guitars for Grunts." He recently sent me the following email:

"Last month I was on an Internet forum and one of the people posted a request to mail Christmas Cards to her son's unit in Iraq. Even tho her son Daniel was killed on May 23rd 2007 she was still thinking about her son's other family...his Brothers in Arms. I contacted her and asked her if I could send a guitar to Iraq in memory of her son, and she thought it would be a wonderful idea.

"A couple of days later a guitar arrived that was donated by a gentleman and I thought it would be the perfect guitar for this. I emailed the donor and told him my special plans for his guitar. Now here is where it just rips me to pieces, a day or so later I check the Guitars for Grunts P.O. Box and there is a letter from Daniel's mother (in California). Sitting in the parking lot of the Stow Post Office, I open her letter and the tears came on like tidal waves. The envelope contained a letter thanking me for what I am doing, imagine being thanked by a Gold Star Mother! A check for $100 to help the GFG project and a special made Dog Tag in memory of Spc. Daniel Cagle." (Here's a picture of the guitar)

Paul .. thanks for the note .. and thanks for spearheading the program which is obviously making a big difference.

If you have a used musical instrument that you'd like to donate or some funds you had earmarked to help the troops, please visit the Guitars for Grunts page and Paul can take it from there.

See ya tonight for Webchat starting at 8:30 p.m. Eric


Guitars for Grunts said...


Thanks again.

The links don't work tho.

Eric Mansfield said...

There was an html goofup .. I think I fixed it .. so the links should work now.
Thanks for telling me .. I'll check the others too ...
Keep on strumming .. Eric