Altamont, Feb. 20, 2014
There are times that we say things and have a nagging afterthought that we either should not have said what we did or we should have chosen our words more carefully. After reading last week’s column, I felt that I was to casual, about the Wounded Warriors and needed to explain more about their injuries.
The Wounded Warriors are a group of veterans who have fought mostly in the Persian Gulf conflicts. Most of them were victims of improvised explosive devices. The term improvised explosive device comes from the British Army in the 1970s, after the Irish Republican Army used bombs made from agricultural fertilizer and semtex (a plastic substance that can be bent into shape for making bombs) smuggled from Libya to make highly effective booby-trap devices or remote-controlled bombs.
An IED is a bomb fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy or incapacitate personnel or vehicles.
IEDs may incorporate military or commercially sourced explosives, and often combine both types, or they may otherwise be made with homemade explosives.
IEDs are extremely diverse in design. Antipersonnel IEDs typically contain fragmentation-generating objects such as nails, ball bearings or even small rocks to cause wounds at greater distances than blast-pressure alone could. IEDs are triggered by various methods, including remote control, infrared or magnetic triggers, pressure-sensitive bars or trip wires (victim-operated). In some cases, multiple IEDs are wired together in a daisy chain to attack a convoy of vehicles spread out along a roadway.
For troops in the U.S. led multinational coalition, death tolls are carefully tracked and updated daily, and the names and photographs of those killed in action as well as in accidents have been published widely. A total of 4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012. Estimates of casualty levels are available from reporters on the scene, from officials of involved organizations, and from groups that summarize information on incidents reported in the news media.
The word casualties, in its most general sense includes the injured as well as the dead. Accounts of the number of wounded vary widely, partly because it is not obvious what should be counted: should only those injuries serious enough to put a soldier out of commission be included? Do illnesses or injuries caused by accidents count, or should the focus be restricted to wounds caused by hostile engagement? Sources using different definitions may arrive at very different numbers, and sometimes the precise definition is not clearly specified.
Hopefully, by now you can see now why I felt that last week’s discussion of our Wounded Warriors was too casual and needed more background.
The need for surgical care of survivors of accidents or animal attacks is part of the story of civilization. The treatment of war wounds is part of that story. Throughout most of the history of warfare, more soldiers died from disease than combat wounds, and misconceptions regarding the best timing and mode of treatment for injuries often resulted in more harm than good. Since the 19th century, mortality from war wounds steadily decreased as surgeons on all sides of conflicts developed systems for rapidly moving the wounded from the battlefield to frontline hospitals where surgical care is delivered.
This brings us back to why the Wounded Warriors (or survivors, or casualties) show that they still have the right stuff by going on the field with prosthetic legs, arms and combinations of devastating injuries, demonstrating their courage and dedication to not letting their physical challenges hold them back.
No one held back in the game between the Wounded Warriors and the All Stars. They were two well-matched teams that put everything they had into the game. Even though the All Stars were the home team, the Wounded Warriors were the ones that received the most cheers. Each player on the traveling team lost at least one limb in combat.
Using a variety of state of the art prosthetic legs, including ski-like running feet and walking feet with built in shock absorbers, the Warriors showed their athleticism. Outfielders with one arm would snag a fly ball with their glove, toss the ball in the air, drop the glove, and make the throw with their bare hand.
Fielders leaped high on metallic legs, and base runners beat out the toss to first base. Some batters got pinch runners after getting on base, and the Warriors pinch runners often were running on prosthetics.
As I said last week, the game was uneven from the start. Perhaps it was even athletically, but the All Stars did not stand a chance against the dedication and determination of the Wounded Warriors. The team provided an inspirational message to show young and old people alike that many of the obstacles in life can be overcome with hard work and dedication.
Chris Nowak, formerly of Altamont and his wife, Amanda were seen on TV this past Monday. As newlyweds and new owners, Chris and Amanda were invited to appear on House Hunters/Boston area. The show aired last Monday.
Hopefully, many relatives, friends and neighbors caught the show.
The Grand Officers Association of the Albany, Rensselaer. Schenectady District will meet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Schenectady Masonic Community Center, 394 Princetown Road in Schenectady. The meeting will be held at 3 p.m., followed by a catered luncheon. Members planning to attend are reminded that reservations should be made with Beverly Harrington.
Altamont residents and visitors are reminded that there is no parking on the streets in the village of Altamont between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.
Schools in the Guilderland Central District will reopen on Monday, Feb. 24, following the winter break.
Sale of the Altamont Elementary School yearbook will be on sale through Feb. 24. Parents are reminded to look for the payment envelope in your student’s backpack.
An invitation has been extended to the students at the Altamont Elementary School to attend the Steve Song Spring Concert on Friday, March 14. The invitation has been extended by the Voorheesville PTA. The concert will be held at the Lydia C. Tobler Performing Arts Center at the Middle School at 6:30 p.m., tickets are $10.
Local Shriners will participate in the Shrine Hospital Intake Clinic on Friday, Feb. 21, from 8 a.m. until noon. The clinic is held at the Bone and Joint Clinic Center located at 1367 Washington Ave. in Albany.
The Community Caregivers is celebrating 20 years of volunteers assisting their neighbors. This year their annual appeal campaign is Twenty- thousand for Twenty Years.
Caregivers primarily serve Altamont, Bethlehem, Guilderland, the Hilltowns, Voorheesville area of Albany County and in more recent years have been providing services in the city of Albany. Information can be obtained by calling Kathy Burbank at 456-2898.
The Food Pantry at St. Lucy/St.Bernadette’s Parish Center would appreciate donations of coffee and tea. All donations can be left in the Gathering space of the church.
The Cyprus Potentate’s Toga Ball will be held on Saturday, March 15. It will be held at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Kingston, N.Y., with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m., introductions at 6:30 p.m., and dinner at 7 p.m. Dancing will be to the music of “The Mustangs 65”.
Reservations must be made by March 10. For information contact Kevin Costello @firstname.lastname@example.org-
Happy Birthday wishes are extended to:
— Kiyomi Barkley and Kelli LeClair on Feb. 21;
— Janet Farrand on Feb. 22;
— Amy (Buess) Michelle (Delaney) Romano, Colin Schager, Kierra Schager and
— Greg Smith on Feb. 23;
— Jack McClintock on Feb. 24;
— Scott Armstrong and Alecia Barkley on Feb. 25;
— Matthew Randal Taber and Eleanor Gaige on Feb. 26; and
— Helen Fries and Sue Milo on Feb. 27.
While watching the Wounded Warriors ball game today I learned two important things. One is that young people and old alike may overcome the obstacles in life with hard work and dedication. The second is that I would rather read a good book than become involved in learning the language and skills required to start a new hobby.
Members of Helderberg Chapter 331 will meet socially on Saturday, Feb. 15, for a late breakfast or early lunch at the Homefront Cafe in Altamont at 11:30 a.m.
This year the Altamont Volunteer Fire Department will hold its annual ball on Saturday, March 22. There will be a rip roaring dinner theatre production of ‘ Red Hot Wedding which will be performed by the Home Made Theatre group and hosted by members of the fire department.
The doors of the community room will open at 6 p.m.
Tickets are now on sale for $30. Don’t be disappointed. Order your tickets now. There will be a buffet dinner, beer, wine and soda included (BYOB for mixed drinks).
Support of this major fund-raiser is always appreciated. If you are unable to attend, a donation would be appreciated. Checks should be made payable to the Altamont Fire Department and can be mailed to P.O. Box 642, Altamont, NY 12009.
The Altamont Food Pantry, housed at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Parish Center on Grand Street, always has need of paper goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. All donations can be left in the Gathering Space at the church.
FMS report cards
By this time parents should have received their student’s report card for the second quarter. The report cards were sent home via backpack mail on Friday, Feb. 7.
The seventh and eighth grade dance at Farnsworth Middle School was canceled due to poor ticket sales. Students who purchased tickets will have their money refunded.
Schools in the Guilderland School District will be closed Feb. 17 through Feb. 21 in observance of Presidents week.
The Altamont Village Office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17, in observance of President’s Day.
Members of Cyrene Temple, No. 18, Daughters of the Nile, held their scheduled session on Saturday, Feb. 8, according to Pat Irwin of Altamont. The group met at the Masonic Lodge in Latham. A social luncheon was held following the session.
The Community Caregivers, in conjunction with their 20th anniversary plans, are holding their annual appeal campaign with a goal of reaching $20,000 donations from individuals and businesses.
For more information regarding the Community Caregivers, contact Kathy Burbank, Executive Director at 456-2898 or online at Kathy@communitycaregivers.org.
The deadline to register for the Spring ACT test scheduled for April 12 is March 7. Registration can be done online by going to www.actstudent.org.
The registration date for the SAT scheduled for March 8 has passed. Future SAT and subject tests are planned for May 3 with registration deadline as of April 4. Registration can be done on line to www.collegeboard.org.
Unable to attend the Farnsworth Middle School PTA meetings. Now you can read the minutes online. All you need to do is go online to http://www.guilderlandschools.org/farnsworth/PTA/PTAhome.cfm.
Happy Birthday wishes are extended to:
— Pat Crupe and Tom Munroe on Feb. 15;
— Diane Corbett and Cameron Nicholas Davis on Feb. 16;
— Nancy Chesnut, Bud Perlee, Gary Prescott, and Terry Ann Trendell on Feb. 17;
— Genevieve Johnson, Bridget Carman, Lois Ginsburg, Alexa Olivia Johnson, and
Kristen Marie Thatcher on Feb. 19; and
— Kiyomi Barkley and Kelli LeClair on Feb. 20.