Friday, May 24, 2013

Bowe Bergdahl event planned in Hailey

June 22 gathering to be a ‘rally to bring Bowe back’

Express Staff Writer

This photograph of Bowe Bergdahl was released by his captors. Courtesy photo

     Supporters of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will commemorate the soldier’s fourth year in captivity overseas with a series of activities at Hop Porter Park in Hailey on Saturday, June 22, from 1-5 p.m.

     The event, called Bring Bowe Home, will feature live music by Up A Creek and Paddy Wagon, and will include food and beverages from local companies, as well as events for children.

     A 5K race will begin at 10 a.m., followed by numerous speakers, including state Sen. Michelle Stennett, County Commissioner Larry Schoen and Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey.

     At 2 p.m., a tree dedication ceremony will take place; four trees will be planted, one for each year Bergdahl has been held captive. More than $15,000 in raffle items will be given away during the day.

     Event organizer Debbie O'Neill said it started as a small-town event but has been growing.

     “I felt that it was time that Hailey and all of Blaine County show all the world that we want Bowe back,” O'Neill said. “We’re expecting about 500 POW/MIA motorcycle riders to come to town from Idaho and Utah. It’s a rally to bring Bowe back.”

     She said Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, are expected to appear at the event.

     Bergdahl, who was raised in the Hailey area, was captured in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. The circumstances surrounding his capture remain unclear. An interview given by Bob Bergdahl last year to Rolling Stone magazine indicated that the soldier was deeply troubled by his participation in the military conflict.

     To donate raffle items, contact Stefanie at 721-8884.

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