Big John @ Large

My Photo
Name:
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Wherever I go, there I am. Everywhere I've been, I've left. I was usually doing something else at the time.

Friday, June 03, 2005

"FLAME of HOPE"

HUNDREDS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO CARRY “FLAME OF HOPE” FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA

Officers to journey with torch from Indianapolis to Terre Haute for Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of law enforcement officers from police departments throughout the state will join efforts Friday, June 3 to carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” by relay from Indianapolis to the campus of Indiana State University (ISU) in Terre Haute for the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers. Their one-day journey will begin at 9 a.m. on June 3 with a Final Leg Ceremony at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

“We are extremely proud to be associated with the law enforcement officers of our state through the Indiana Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics,” said Debbie Hesse, President and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana. “These men and women volunteer their time throughout the year to raise funds and build awareness for Special Olympics Indiana, empowering our athletes with the intangible benefits that accompany sports training and competition.”

Officers will journey 70 miles along U.S. Route 40 on Friday, June 3, running and bicycling 23 relay segments in all. They will deliver the “Flame of Hope” to Marks Field at ISU at 3:30 p.m that afternoon. In the evening, Lt. Richard Kivett of the Indianapolis Police Department and Special Olympics Indiana – Hamilton County athlete Sam McNew will deliver the torch to Opening Ceremonies at the ISU Hulman Center. There, Kivett and McNew will light the official cauldron with the “Flame of Hope,” symbolizing the opening of the 2005 Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers. At Opening Ceremonies, Executive Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Executive Director of Conseco Fieldhouse, and Honorary Chair of the 2005 Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games — Rick Fuson — will welcome the athletes, volunteers and spectators in attendance for an energetic program of live entertainment on the theme, “It’s all about attitude.”

The Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers are the culmination of the spring sports season for more than 2,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities from across Indiana. Athletes will gather June 3 – 5 at Indiana State University (ISU) in Terre Haute for competition in aquatics, athletics (track and field), bocce, bowling, horseshoes and volleyball. Approximately 900 coaches and 1,000 volunteers will assist in events at venues throughout the ISU campus, with hundreds of spectators and family members attending throughout the weekend. Highlights of the event schedule follow:

FRIDAY, JUNE 3
9 a.m. Torch Run Final Leg Kick-Off Ceremony at Victory Field (Indianapolis)
12:30 p.m. Preliminary competition begins at ISU (Terre Haute)
3:30 p.m. Torch arrives by relay at ISU’s Marks Field
7:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies at ISU’s Hulman Center

SATURDAY, JUNE 4
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Competition runs at ISU (with meal breaks)

SUNDAY, JUNE 5
8 – 11 a.m. Competition at ISU

Special thanks to our sponsors and media partners for the 2005 Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers: The Indiana Pacers, Cinergy Foundation, CARQUEST Auto Parts, WTWO NewsChannel 2, Crossroads Communications, First Financial Bank, SuperValu, Fredrick R. Benson Trust, Markey’s Audio Visual, Terre Haute Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Kroger.

ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA
Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in over 21 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, reaching nearly 12,000 athletes across Indiana. The organization receives no federal or state funds, relying entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations. For more information about Special Olympics Indiana, call (317) 328-2000 or visit www.soindiana.org.

ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT TORCH RUN® FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is the world’s largest grassroots fundraising vehicle for Special Olympics. The movement began in 1981, when Chief Richard LaMunyon of Wichita, Kansas saw the need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The Torch Run was created to provide law enforcement officers with opportunities to volunteer with Special Olympics in their local communities. In 1984, the International Association of Chiefs of Police endorsed Special Olympics as its official charity through the Torch Run. Today, all 50 states and more than 50 countries have a Torch Run program. The first Torch Run in Indiana was organized in 1987. Throughout the year, law enforcement officers participate in fundraising activities of various kinds to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics. In Indiana, the Law Enforcement Torch Run involves hundreds of police officers in fundraising and volunteer activities year-round.

Contact:
Joy Mahoney
Special Olympics Indiana
jmahoney@soindiana.org
(317) 328-2003

Days of event:
Joy Mahoney
(317) 445-2851

###



Joy Mahoney
Public Relations / Special Events Coordinator
Special Olympics Indiana

6100 West 96th Street, Suite 270
Indianapolis, IN 46278
[Phone] 317-328-2003
[Fax] 317-328-2018
1-800-742-0612 x223
jmahoney@soindiana.org
www.soindiana.org

Join us for the biggest event of the year!

More than 2,600 athletes from all over the state will unite June 3 - 5 at Indiana State University for the Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games presented by the Indiana Pacers. Athletes will compete in aquatics, athletics, bocce, bowling, horseshoes and volleyball. Approximately 900 coaches, 1000 volunteers, and hundreds of family members and spectators will be in attendance. Events are free and open to the public. To learn more, call (800) 742-0612 or visit www.soindiana.org.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Broadripple Hailstorm

Friday April 22nd proved the old saying about the weather in Indiana. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Sherry speaks Volumes with her work that afternoon trying our new HandiCam. You heard some of the soundtrack the following Monday during “Indianapolis Today LIVE at Noon”. Now join us for memories made in around 30 minutes which will last a lifetime.

BTW, if you have any interest in the actual video, e-me bigjohn@wibc.emmis.com or call me in the Sky Traffic Command Post 317-637-NEWS (6397). I’m usually around weekdays 5A-1P.

Happy Landings, bj ;-)


Sherry LOVES her Gardens!
- bj personal files


Just outside our Kitchen Door
- bj personal files


Spring Has Sprung
- bj personal files


Our Dogwood Blossoms
- bj personal files


Put on AHappy Face
- bj personal files


Sunshine
- bj personal files


Hoosier Heartland
- bj personal files


"If you don't like the weather in Indiana, just wait 5 minutes!"
- bj personal files


View thru Kitchen Window
- bj personal files


Carfree Spa
- bj personal files


Our Slow Cooker (Lower Right)
- bj personal files


Anyone Have a Sidewalk Sump-Pump?
- bj personal files


Martini Wannabe
- bj personal files


We Mowed this Morning
- bj personal files


Neighbors' Cars
- bj personal files


From Hail to Heavy Rain
- bj personal files


Beginning to Let-Up
- bj personal files


Ice Balls & Dogwood Blossoms
- bj personal files


Finally Stopped
- bj personal files


CJ Loves Ice Cubes!
- bj personal files


Just a half-hour earlier
- bj personal files


It was 80 degrees earlier today
- bj personal files


Froggie Went a Skiing
- bj personal files


Hang In There
- bj personal files


Oh, the Humanity
- bj personal files


Survivor!
- bj personal files


Once Upon a Dogwood...
- bj personal files


Still a Blossom or Two on Sherry's Dogwood Tree
- bj personal files


We're Beat!
- bj personal files


Still Standing
- bj personal files


The Morning After
- bj personal files

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Brief Glimpse of a Brilliant Light…

Friday’s BJ@Lg was going to be Tom Otterness, the hands which brought “Gulliver” to the Children’s Museum and a Whimsical and Magical Exhibition to the Streets of Indianapolis. That will happen, and appropriate photos and comments will appear on one of my blogs.

The morning began as usual with my calls to various police dispatchers and to our WIBC News Center, where Stan Lehr informed me of Qudrat’s passing.

Qudrat Ullah Wardak.

As Fate/Karma would have it, he and his father and their translator were hosted by some very good friends of ours. Jim and Roberta Graham are extraordinary people. Their son Richard is at camp Phoenix and has been a part of this story from day one.

Just yesterday I spent about 15 minutes on the phone talking with the Grahams about their experience during Qudrat’s journey. Excerpts from that conversation were heard as a part of the WIBC Morning News, along with a LIVE call to Jim and Roberta during our 8:00 hour.

Jim called me about 7:00 a.m. to ask for my e-mail address. I’m posting here what he sent. He called it a very important letter. I agree. Parts of it were read by yours truly in place of the promised “Otterness” presentation.

What you are about to view is NOT the final chapter in this baby’s saga. I see him as a flash of hope from a place of despair in a time of uncertainty. The many hearts his touched during his short life will hold him dearly for eternity, as I’m sure Allah does even now. And I expect he’s sharing with his God the love freely flowing around him wherever he went and among all who were willing to partake.

Roberta said to me that his name could be translated in English as “Touched by the Hand of God”. I believe he was, and we are.

Here’s what their son Richard sent… (Click Sent Friday April 15th)

Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 5:07 AM

Dear Angie, Mom and Dad,
Today was supposed to be a fun day on our base camp with reduced operations, a run and a cook out. It’s sunny and about 70 degrees, but, as you know, today is instead a sad, sad day. Little Qudrat died last night. I wanted to call you immediately when I got back in the TOC, but for some reason I just have to also write down what I’ve already told you on the phone. His uncle came to our base camp early this morning to tell us the sad news. I had just finished my morning PT when I heard the news from LTC Grube. So LTC Snow, MAJ Foley, CPT’s Landis and Roscoe and I threw on our body armor, jumped in two vehicles, grabbed an interpreter on our way out the gate and rushed out to the refugee camp to see. When we arrived, as you can imagine, the mood in the village was very subdued and sad. The two doctors checked little Qudrat for any signs of what might have killed him but found nothing. Hakim told the interpreter that Qudrat’s heart was just racing last night then it just stopped. But we have no other indications of what killed him. I know this is a very harsh environment, and for example; when MAJ Lee just returned from his R&R leave he was exhausted and slept quite a bit before getting back into a rhythm, and he’s an extremely healthy man. Of course I don’t know anything about medicine but I figure the stress of the change in environment might have been too much strain on the little baby.

His mother and father had Qudrat laid out on a bed in the morning sun, covered over with a blanket and she was sitting at her baby’s feet with her face covered, wailing. Hakim was trying to be strong but you could see the devastation in his face. Pretty soon both doctors and MAJ Foley were also in tears at the sight of the dead, innocent little baby. Death is so common here that the other villagers were obviously sad, but accepting the fact that a baby had died. We stayed long enough for the doctors to determine that they couldn’t readily identify a cause of death, then we got back in our vehicles and left the family with the rest of the villagers to grieve. On the way back to the base camp I asked our interpreter if they perform autopsies on little babies and he said “no, almost never”. He also told me that the family intended to leave today to take Qudrat’s body up to his grandfather’s home and bury him there. I think he said it was up north in the Kunduz province but I’m not sure.

I know by talking to you on the phone and reading your letters that he had become family and I’m very sorry to have to tell this news, but I wanted to be the one to tell you before you saw it on the TV news or read it in the paper.

As I told you on the phone, I had a brief mission into multiple locations in downtown Kabul right after returning from the refugee camp. I gave LTC Grube a quick briefing on the baby’s death and the situation at the refugee camp, then threw my body armor back on and headed back out. As we drove along I found my self day dreaming about being home on leave next week, then about the little baby and his sad parents and how I want to see my own children and hug them. I looked out the window and saw the crater from the most recent roadside bomb and I snapped to the realization that we were driving through the kill zone of that bombing and I was infuriated with myself for allowing my mind to wander and not remaining alert of my surroundings as you always remind me to. But we accomplished our mission and made it in and out of Kabul without any incidents. We did see some suspicious packages next to the road and we cringed as we sped past without being blow to pieces. Once again it was nice to get outside the wire. Getting off of the base camp always cheers me up and is like therapy when I get too cranky, but today, I just don’t feel like being cheery. Just as tomorrow was a little better day after our soldiers were killed by the mine, I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day and we’ll drive on with operations. But today is a tough day here.

I’ll see you in about a week or less and we can listen to each others stories. I’ve attached a couple of pictures of Qudrat. The first is of CPT Landis looking into his eyes as other look on. You can see Hakim with part of his face covered standing next to LTC Snow. The second is of MAJ Foley trying to perform the very difficult task of comforting Qudrat’s mother. There is a lot of death here and this is just a very hard country. I’ll write more later tonight.

"Wide Awake!"
MAJ Richard Graham
Executive Officer
1st Battalion, 151st Infantry
Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan
DSN ph: 318-237-2131

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying "Whom shall I send, who will go for us?", and I said "Here am I Lord, send Me!" Isaiah 6:8


CPT Landis looking into his eyes as others look on. You can see Hakim with part of his face covered standing next to LTC Snow.

- bj


MAJ Foley trying to perform the very difficult task of comforting Qudrat’s mother

- bj

Monday, April 11, 2005

BJ in Cyberspace

For much more about Quadrat and our sons and daughters who've been with him from the start, Visit "Quest4Freedom" (link below).

These are current links to my blogs and related webstuff. Please visit and send feedback?
Big John at Large: http://bjatlg.blogspot.com/
Quest4Freedom: http://bigjohngilliswibc.blogspot.com/
Big John’s Blog: http://emmis.webconnectivityllc.com/wibc/blogs/bigjohn/blog.htm
WIBC Sky Traffic: http://wibc.com/traffic/
Big John’s LIVE Traffic: http://www.wibc.com/news/story.aspx?id=35403
Big John’s ConeZones: http://www.wibc.com/news/story.aspx?id=36764
Wibc.com: http://wibc.com/index.aspx

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Fat Guy at Lunch

… was my original name for our new feature during WIBC’s “Indianapolis Today, LIVE at Noon”. Program Director Jon Quick thought-up “Big John at Large”, which of course we’re using. Yes, because he’s the boss… but also because I LIKE it!

So WELCOME to a new Indy listening experience on WIBC/1070AM, wibc.com, and Brighthouse Channel 66 and to a new blogging adventure here on your PC.

Here’s where I need YOUR help – Who do you know that has a unique job or hobby?
Who has a remarkable Story to tell? What’s happening in YOUR neighborhood, school, club, church, band, etc. that deserves a moment of “Fame” on the radio as I turn on the audio spotlight with “Big John @ Large”? What oddities and unusual places may I visit and share?

Get the idea? Get in touch! E-me bigjohn@wibc.emmis.com or call 317-466-7978 (my personal “Batphone”).

Thanks for the visit, please listen for my feature, and for goodness sake please drop me a note or ring my number!

And come back again soon, as I’ll post pictures and stories right here as I wander Indiana as BJ@Lg.


Pidge holding "Hear No Evil" (Meaning WIBCAM & HankFM are Good)
- bj's personal pix


BJ & Sculpture on circle, Emmis Bldg in background
- bj's personal pix


View of Statehouse from Ottersen Sculpture
- bj's personal pix


Emmis Communications "Sky Traffic" Command Center (My chair on right)
- bj's personal pix


Sharon Alseth keeps us all in sync
- bj's personal pix


Taylor Bennet off to work Network Indiana
- bj's personal pix


Cheryl Miller preps for broadcast
- bj's personal pix


Stan Lehr in Action
- bj's personal pix