Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Charlie Manuel on gratitude to veterans

The Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been the source for half a dozen fun stories for me these past few months - and I'm often the only journalist to show up for them.
Although they have a crack PR person, Kathleen Pomorski, and a heck of a resume with some nationally ranked programs, the TV stations and other news orgs from the area rarely do more than a quick spotlight on the events I cover. 
Tuesday, however, showed the coned-off spots Kathleen so thoughtfully reserves almost all taken, because of news totally unrelated to the VA - but serendipitously linked with its holiday event. 
Monday night, Facebook and Twitter erupted with the news that Cy Young award-winning pitcher Cliff Lee had signed to return to the Phillies, creating what many are calling the strongest pitching lineup in baseball. This made a Tuesday morning visit by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, former player Marty Bystrom, and the Phillies Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls big news.
The news stations were full of reporters grabbing Charlie to ask about the Phils and his feelings on their coup over the Yankees.
He told me, "I'm not supposed to talk about it" when I dutifully asked about Lee. But despite a downright boyish grin about the pitcher, he was really there for the veterans - and seemed happy to be asked about the real reason for his visit, for a change.
The veterans he visited were mostly from World War II and the Korean War, and Charlie told me in the elevator that he'd had many relatives and friends in those conflicts.

His thoughts on honoring veterans, below:

The Daily Local news story I wrote on the event can be found here, with another video of additional fan reactions to the news of Lee's signing.

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