Tag Archive | "Jordan Haerter"

Honoring Jordan

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An anonymous online petition drive begun late last year with the goal of obtaining the Congressional Medal of Honor for Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter and his fellow marine, Corporal Jonathan Yale, who were killed in Iraq 2008 as they defended their position from a suicide truck bomber, is gaining traction.

On Sunday, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop was in town to announce at the Sag Harbor American Legion that he and Representative Robert Hurt of Virginia, who represents Corporal Yale’s family, had introduced legislation seeking a presidential review to determine whether the two marines, who have been credited with savings the lives of 50 other marines, as well as a number of Iraqi police officers, should be posthumously awarded the nation’s highest military honor.

Despite the fanfare that came with Mr. Bishop’s visit, both he and Jordan’s dad, Christian Haerter, made it clear they were not holding out a great deal of hope that the process, which must wind its way from the House Armed Services Committee to the Pentagon and finally the White House, will ultimately result in the medal being awarded.

But Mr. Haerter made it very clear that the effort has already been a success because it has helped keep the memory of his son alive. That was evident at the turnout on Sunday, just as it has been evident every July when the Wounded Warrior’s Soldier Ride passes through the village, and just as it was evident on a sad April day when Jordan’s funeral procession passed through the village.

Sag Harbor has always remembered those who have served this country in time of war, with monuments commemorating conflicts from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam scattered from Otter Pond to Marine Park, and on Windmill Beach where a memorial was erected for Jordan. And just off Jermain Avenue, in Oakland Cemetery, Jordan’s neatly tended grave, with its flags, photo and mementoes, has become something of an unofficial monument to the bloodshed in Iraq. Anyone wanting to honor his memory would do well to pay it a visit.

Whalers Struggling

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Whaler catcher Stuart Levy tags out a Southampton baserunner trying to make it home during the Southampton Breakers vs. the Sag Harbor Whalers Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday, 7/1/12.

Whaler catcher Stuart Levy tags out a Southampton baserunner trying to make it home during the Southampton Breakers vs. the Sag Harbor Whalers Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday, 7/1/12.



By Mike Pintauro

Faced with the threat of inclement weather, the Whalers hosted a double header at Mashashimuet Park on Wednesday. Starting early on our nation’s birthday, the Whalers played two games against the Shelter Island Bucks, winning their first game 2-1, but dropping their second 4-3.

The Whalers had only four hits during the first game, which came sporadically from inning to inning. That’s more than can be said about the Bucks, however, who were held scoreless until the seventh inning by a masterful pitching performance by Whalers newcomer Brandon McClane. McClane was perfect through five innings, hurling seven strikeouts and only one walk in six innings pitched.

The only two hits from the Bucks came in the top of the seventh inning. McClane was pulled from the game and did not pitch the seventh inning, and was instead replaced by Collin Dinges. Dinges finished off the Bucks, but allowed one run on two hits in a game that looked certain to be shutout.

Down one run with only one inning left in the truncated ball game, it seemed the Whalers’ stellar pitching performance was all for nothing; but after a walk from Jake Kingsley and a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Keaton Flint, they had the tying run on second with two outs. John Hennessy was up at bat, and like most other Whalers during the game, he did little from behind the plate. Nevertheless, it was his two-run homerun over the right field fence that snagged the victory for the Whalers, in spectacular walk-off fashion.

Wednesday’s second game was a different story from the beginning. After loading the bases with the first three batters, Whalers pitcher Jason Freeman gave up an RBI double to Geo Saba, scoring two runs. Saba would score himself later in the inning, bringing the first inning run total by the Bucks to four. Down four runs from the get-go, the Whalers knew they had to play catch up, but despite dishing out nine hits in the game, they were only able to score three runs.

Whalers infielder John Hennessey, fresh off a two-run homerun, was 2-for-3 on the day, with one run coming in the bottom of the third. Down two in the last inning, infielder Charlie Curl led off with a strong solo homerun, but it was too little too late. Grant Shambley reached base with a single to left field, but was the first out of a game-ending double play, hit by Dennis Mitchell.

This was the second double header of the week for the Whalers. On Saturday, June 30, the Whalers hosted the Riverhead Tomcats in a back-to-back showdown, but lost both games of the day 3-2 and 4-0. Jim Duff was on the mound for the first game, throwing a solid six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out four. The Whalers were held to six hits in the game, scoring their only two runs in a desperate seventh inning struggle to find the win.

In their second game against the Tomcats, the Whalers were held scoreless, slapping only five hits in the game. Whalers pitcher Will Marcal pitched a strong outing, striking out six, with only two earned runs. However, he allowed nine hits in his four inning outing, and after being down early in the game, the Whalers were unable to get any offense moving.

On Sunday, the Whalers faced the fifth place Southampton Breakers, and came away with a 7-6 win.

With a tough loss against the North Fork Ospreys last Thursday, the Whalers have continued to struggle this season, and are now six games back from the first place Riverhead Tomcats. Regardless, Whalers pitching and hitting are holding up well, bringing games close and competitive.

Scores came out to enjoy the double header, but there was more on the agenda than just baseball. Whalers General Manager Tom Gleeson invited local residents Joanne Lyles and Jim Theinert as ceremonial guests, where they simultaneously threw the first pitch in honor of their sons, Jordan Haerter and Joseph Theinert, respectively, both who died in the service of their country. The crowd welcomed the two, and offered their cheers to the memory of the two fallen servicemen.


Community Comes Together to Give to Troops

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By Claire Walla

They won’t be home for the holidays. But for those here in Sag Harbor, that doesn’t mean the soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan will be forgotten.

Organized by local non-profit organization Jordan’s Initiative, the annual Care Packages for Our Troops event to be held this Saturday, November 19 at the Sag Harbor Ambulance Barn will bring community members together for the purpose of assembling gift packages to send to soldiers overseas. Flanked by piles of cardboard boxes, non-perishable food items, toiletries, toys and other holiday goodies, volunteers will create roughly 250 boxes by the end of the weekend.

“From start to finish we’ll probably have about 30 volunteers,” said event organizer Michelle Severance. “We have kids, we have adults, we have people who just open the packages [of supplies] up and people who simply tape the boxes shut.”

This is actually the second time in 2011 Jordan’s Initiative has sponsored a care package collection drive. Last spring, the organization held a similar event in conjunction with a spaghetti dinner held the Sag Harbor Fire House, which ultimately amassed 185 boxes.

“We’ve gotten a big turn out this year,” Severance exclaimed.

Severance has worked alongside her partner and Jordan’s Initiative co-founder Christian Haerter to make these care package drives possible. It’s one of many ways Severance and Haerter have reached out to U.S. troops serving abroad since they founded Jordan’s Initiative together in 2008 in memory of Haerter’s son, Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008.

Severance explained that the event is financed entirely by charitable donations made by members of the local community. While Jordan’s Initiative has set up red collection boxes at various locations on the East End — several Bridgehampton National Bank branches, Apple Bank in Sag Harbor and East Hampton, St. Andrews Church in Sag Harbor, The Ross School and Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor — she added that much of Care Packages for Our Troops’ success comes by way of monetary donations.

While the Boy Scouts managed to raise about $860 earlier this year while soliciting donations outside K-Mart in Bridgehampton, Severance said individuals have also sponsored boxes for $20 each. In total, the organization has managed to raise a total of $3,100, which — for Severance and Haerter — means a lot of shopping.

“We went to Walmart to do some shopping yesterday,” Severance described in an interview last Monday. “And we had the longest receipt I’ve ever seen!”

She said they managed to fill three shopping carts with supplies, everything from food and Band-Aids to stuffed animals and Q-tips. For the most part, they send essential items to the soldiers abroad, categorizing their bounty as “things you would need if you were going camping.”

Severance said the list of items they include in each care package has been gleaned from feedback they’ve received from those who are overseas.

“We have great military connections,” she explained. “Over the years, we’ve definitely asked what people would want to get… otherwise we would have never thought to send toys.”

She said several soldiers have requested receiving items they could give to local children in the areas where they serve.

“It’s a really, really good feeling,” Severance said of organizing Care Packages for Our Troops.

Beyond the event’s immediate goal of reaching out to servicemen and women overseas, she added that another important aspects of the project is being in touch with people here in Sag Harbor.

“We want to tell the community that their money really is going toward a good cause.”

The Benefits of Fishing Benefits: Helping Vets and Grilling Stripers

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By Claire Wala

This year marks the second annual Jordan Haerter Fishing Tournament, an event that lets local anglers loose in the waters between Shinnecock Inlet and Montauk Point, casting hooks with the hopes of reeling in the fattest striped bass or bluefish they can find.

Last year’s winning bass—wrestled into the boat by Rich Nessel—weighed-in at 28.05 lbs., and its bluefish counterpart—caught by Ken Freese—came in at 12.6 lbs. Though the bass was found in the waters off Montauk, event organizer Richard Flood says that’s no indication of where hopeful anglers should set their sights this year.

“There are plenty of sweet spots, it’s just a matter of knowing where they are,” Flood added. When asked to divulge information on the whereabouts of said sweet spots, he chuckled: “If I could do that, I’d be the winner of the tournament!”

According to Al Daniels, an outdoor columnist for the Sag Harbor Express, serious fishermen will most likely troll through Plum Gut, Gardiner’s Island, The Race or Montauk; and most will use live bait (bunkers, if possible, but probably porgies). For those who choose to fish with lures, Daniels predicts most will use parachutes or drifting bucktails.

If anything, Flood believes weather will probably be the biggest challenge for participants; though—as of publication—he said it was too soon to tell how it would affect conditions for Saturday’s tournament.

“Last year it was rough,” he remembered, quickly adding, “It was a beautiful day to be on land, but it was rough out on the water.”

Daniels agreed, saying that the windy conditions during last year’s tournament definitely took some competitors, including himself, out of the running. But this year, Mother Nature shouldn’t pose a threat.

Anyway, what it comes down to, Daniels said, is very simple: “The key is just to put the line in the water and wait… wait… wait…”

This year participants will set sail at 4 a.m. Saturday, and be back in Sag Harbor by 2 p.m. for the official weigh-in. The winners from each category will receive cash prizes, and will be able to celebrate their victory at Saturday’s Fishing Party, which will kick-off at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. The party will include a raffle, silent auction, food, music and, of course: fish.

Last year, attendees got the taste of grilled victory, as Nessel’s prize-winning bass was thrown to the flame and served to the hungry crowd.

“Striped bass is a very tasty white meat, so you can cook it any way you want,” Flood said. “Bluefish is stronger, so you have to do whatever you can to mellow out the flavor — it’s much more of a culinary challenge.” Though, Flood added, it’s delicious smoked.

Flood expects to see around the same number of participants as last year (about 105), which — even though not everyone will bring-in a catch the size of a cocker spaniel —will certainly supply the event with enough seafood for the day. (Any extra fish will be donated to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.)

All proceeds from the weekend will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project and Building Homes for Heroes.

The tournament was founded in memory of Sag Harbor local Jordan Haerter who was killed in the line of duty while guarding a Marine and Iraqi police compound in Ramadi, Iraq in 2008. He was just 19. In the wake of numerous memorial services held in honor of the young hero, Richard Flood and Doug Herrmann felt compelled to do something more. They imagined the fishing tournament last spring as a way to honor Haerter’s memory while giving something back to the local community.

“We thought it would be nice to create more of a family event,” Flood said.

This year’s event will also honor the memory of 24-year-old Joe Thienert of Shelter Island, who died in Afghanistan in June.

In addition to the main event, the Jordan Haerter Fishing Tournament includes a free Snapper Derby for children under 10.

“Some of the kids have never caught a fish before,” Flood added, “so they’ll be able to catch a fish for the first time [on Saturday].”

New this year, there will also be a Fisherman’s Ball held the night before the tournament. It will be catered by The Seafood Shop “Food for Forks” and cost $100 to attend. Flood likens the ball to the annual gala held by the Bay Street Theatre, also on Long Wharf. 

“Every summer we see that monstrous tent go up for Bay Street, but you’ve gotta have deep pockets to attend,” Flood said. “So we thought we’d do a similar thing for smaller pockets.”

However, just like the gala, Flood hopes the Fishing Tournament will make a lasting impression on the community: “We hope that this will become a part of Sag Harbor’s annual list of events.”

Solider Ride The Hamptons Hopes for Patriotic Turnout

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WHEN JOANN LYLES’ SON JORDAN was brought home to rest in Sag Harbor after perishing defending an entry control point in the Sophia region of Ramadi, Iraq in April of 2008, she was greeted by a solemn, but grateful, hometown decked out in red, white and blue – symbolic of the country Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter signed up to defend.

This Saturday, Lyles hopes residents and business owners in the Sag Harbor area give as proud a welcome to the wounded warriors who will ride with community members from across the East End in Soldier Ride — an event that supports the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides support and rehabilitation opportunities for servicemen and servicewomen and their families.

“It was overwhelming,” said Lyles on Tuesday. “What happened for Jordan and for [Army First Lieutenant] Joseph Theinert [a Shelter Island resident killed this June in Afghanistan] – seeing that you just know that people care and I think the wounded warriors will all feel that this weekend. So many servicemen, in particular from the Vietnam era, never got the welcome home they deserve and as a mother seeing people thank them for service, it means a lot.”

Lyles’ organization, In Jordan’s Honor, is sponsoring two contests Saturday for Sag Harbor residents, community groups and businesses, and plans to award prizes for “Most Patriotic Display” and “Shows the Most Spirit.” Lyles’ is encouraging people on the Soldier Ride cycling and walking routes in Sag Harbor, which includes Main Street, to decorate homes and businesses in red, white and blue, display flags, set up water stations for riders, make signs supporting their troops and line the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge and Main Street to support participants in Soldier Ride, in particular, veterans riding in the event.

Lyles borrowed the idea from Tim and Janet Scherer, of East Northport, whose son Corporal Christopher Sherer died at age 21 from wounds sustained in combat in the Anbar province of Iraq in July of 2007. The couple hosts a walk and run, “I Did the Grid” Memorial Day weekend and hand out similar awards for patriotic displays. Inspired, Lyles said she hopes it will draw people to support the Soldier Ride event.

This is the third year Lyles son with Chris Haerter, another Sag Harbor resident, will be honored at the Soldier Ride The Hamptons event, with a tribute from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the base of the bridge named in his honor. Lyles, who will walk with Theinert’s mother and stepfather in the event, said becoming involved with Soldier Ride has given her the opportunity to celebrate her son, while being involved with an organization close to her heart.

Soldier Ride was founded in 2004, when East Hampton resident and Railroad Avenue Fitness owner Chris Carney teamed up with Stephen Talkhouse owner Peter Honerkamp and other locals to design an event to support Joe Melia’s Wounded Warrior Project.

Carney cycled cross-country, raising over a million dollars for the organization, setting off for a second cross-country cycling trip in 2005.

Since then Soldier Ride has evolved into a national program, hosting cycling and walking events aimed at not only raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, but also at providing rehabilitative sporting equipment and training for troops wounded in overseas combat.

Last year, in honor of Haerter, the Amagansett-based event expanded into Sag Harbor. Last week, Lyles said she hopes eventually Soldier Ride will also include a leg through Shelter Island, the home of Theinert. Lyles said she plans to honor the fallen soldier in her address at the tribute to her son.

The event begins Saturday with registration at 8 a.m. at Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and at Oceanview Farm in Amagansett. Participants can choose from 30 or 60-mile bicycle routes beginning in Amagansett, or participate in one of two four-mile walk/run routes in Amagansett or Sag Harbor.

The 30 mile-route takes riders from Amagansett to Sag Harbor for the Haerter dedication and then back through Amagansett. Following the tribute to Haerter, at noon Carney will lead a group of wounded veterans down Main Street, Sag Harbor in an event dubbed “Honor Our Heroes.”

The 60-mile route extends the cycling tour from Amagansett to Montauk Point Lighthouse, and back to Amagansett for a celebratory barbeque at Oceanview Farm. Last year’s event raised $200,000 and Lyles admitted it may be hard to top. But she’s hopeful.

“And I hope we see a lot of red, white and blue out there,” she said.

To register for Solider Ride, visit soldierridethehamptons.com. The cost is $50 for cycling, $25 for the walk/run and $75 for cycling on the day of the event. For more information, call 903-1701.



Heroism Illustrated: Magazine Will Feature Local Marine’s Exploits

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web Haerter and Yale Firing 3

By Bryan Boyhan


Jordan Haerter’s life has been celebrated in many ways since he was killed in Iraq two years ago today. This summer his heroism will be the subject of an illustration in a magazine for his fellow U.S. Marines.

The Sag Harbor native had been in Ramadi, Iraq for only a month when he was assigned to guard an entry control point. A truck carrying explosives driven by a determined suicide bomber refused to yield as it careened down an alley toward Haerter’s post, behind which were dozens of Marines. Lance Cpl. Haerter and Corporal Jonathan Yale, without regard for their own lives, opened fire at the truck, killing the driver, but not before the truck detonated. They perished, but their actions have been credited with not only saving the lives of the other Marines, but also hundreds of citizens and Iraqi police.

In the wake of the incident, Haerter has been heralded as a hero, and posthumously received the Navy Cross, among other awards, has had a monument erected in his honor in Sag Harbor and, in a ceremony that attracted about a thousand people, including local elected officials and military personnel from across Long Island, the bridge that connects Sag Harbor to North Haven was named in his honor.

web Haerter and Yale Portraits together (2)

Now, Haerter and Yale’s exploits will be part of a new feature in Marines Magazine, a quarterly publication that reaches 80,000 to 100,000 Marines and their families. The feature is a way of telling the stories of ordinary Marines who exhibit extraordinary heroism. The first edition of the feature, called “Sharing the Courage,” illustrated Sgt. Major Brad Kasal who threw himself on top of a grenade to protect fellow Marines during a fight, said Staff Sergeant Paul Kane, who is the art director for the series. The second episode will feature Haerter and Yale and will be out this July.

“When they give out heroism awards, the actions are largely just summarized on a one page citation,” observed S/Sgt. Kane. The illustrated stories that are being published in Marines Magazine help bring those stories to life.

“The illustration sort of speaks for itself,” said Kane of the drawings for Haerter and Yale. “We’ll insert some text boxes to help tell the story.”

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Kane, who is in charge of selecting the stories, has fertile ground to select from. He visited the awards branch of the service to look at what had been issued since 9/11.

“Some awards are specifically for heroism,” and still there were about two thousand. “The Marine Corps is very rigorous in giving these awards,” said Kane. “I wanted those that were truly heroic.”

In Haerter’s case, Kane also stumbled upon video of the incident — a rarity — which showed remarkable detail.

“We knew where they were located,” said Kane, “we knew, for example the color of the truck was blue.”

In an interview with Marine Corps Times, Sgt. Kristopher Battles, who is the artist creating the panels, said “We are trying to run a hybrid between the comic book — with its straightforward method of communication — and realism, so we say this is a real act of heroism. These are not super-men — or super-Marines. They are ‘everymen’ in extraordinary circumstances.”

“It is a good educating tool,” observed Kane, and helps to illustrate to Marines, “this is what you do.”

“There really is a selflessness — it is not just roboticized,” he said. “They made a conscious effort to give up their lives.”






Remembering a Hero With Good Works

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By Kathryn G. Menu

At 6 a.m. on April 22, Chris Haerter will quietly remember his son, Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, while adorning the bridge named after the fallen Marine with American flags.

“We don’t do a public thing for the anniversary of his death,” said Haerter this week. “But I put those up and that is my way of letting people know it is a special day to be remembered.”

On April 22, 2008, Lance Corporal Haerter, a rifleman with the 1st battalion 9th marines of the United States Marine Corps, was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq defending an entry control point from a truck carrying an improvised explosive device manned by a suicide bomber. As a result of Haerter and Corporal Jonathan Yale’s actions, the truck was stopped before the entry point, detonating 2,000 pounds of explosives and killing the marines, but saving the lives of an estimated 50 Marines and Iraqi policemen.

The 19-year-old Sag Harbor native was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Since his son’s death, the elder Haerter and his partner Michelle Severance have created a memorial foundation to honor his heroism. Jordan’s Initiative aims to support members of the armed services and their families through financial assistance and care package drives, and honors Sag Harbor students committed to volunteerism through an annual Community Spirit Award.

This year, Jordan’s Initiative has expanded with two pilot programs – Operation Garden Rescue and Wheels to Freedom.

Operation Garden Rescue is a program geared specifically towards aiding veterans from Sag Harbor, by providing one veteran with a complimentary yard and garden renovation this spring.

“Michelle and I were brainstorming about different projects that could involve the community because we think it is important to not only recognize our veterans, but also involve the community so they can develop a greater appreciation of what our veterans have done,” said Haerter on Monday. “We first started out by doing the care package drives, and it worked out so well we thought this could be a great way for community volunteers to give back.”

A pilot program Haerter hopes could expand in years to come, Haerter said once a veteran is chosen, through a random lottery, Jordan’s Initiative will bring in a professional landscaper to clear any major debris in the yard, and then will unleash 20 volunteers to edge the property and any existing flower beds, create new beds, plant new flowers, lay down mulch, weed and trim trees and bushes.

“If a mailbox needs replacement, we will do that also,” said Haerter. “And of course, we will put up an American flag.”

It is Haerter’s hope that an overall transformation will be accomplished in just one day’s time, and he added the organization will use this year’s experience to better the program, and ideally expand it, next year.

All military veterans in the 11963 zip code are eligible, and can sign up for the lottery at http://jordansinitiative.com or by sending their name, address, phone number and branch of service to Jordan’s Initiative, PO Box 2848, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 by April 15. The organization will announce the recipient the following day and plans to hold an organizational meeting for volunteers on April 27 at 7 p.m. at the village ambulance barn behind the Columbia Street fire house.

Haerter added interested volunteers, as well as businesses able to donate their services or products, can contact the organization at 725-2489.

The organization is also working with Hope for the Warriors, an organization dedicated to the care of wounded servicemen and women returning from overseas combat, to provide a wounded Marine from Haerter’s battalion with a custom designed adaptive bicycle. On May 15, Haerter will head down to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to formerly present the bicycle.

“Hopefully this will be an ongoing thing as well,” he said.

After the life altering experience of losing his only son, Haerter said Jordan’s Intiative has enabled him to feel he his keeping his son’s memory alive.

“If someone had asked me three years ago if I could be doing this today – running a foundation – I just could never have conceived it,” he said. “But everything we do, we do to keep Jordan’s light shining, that is what I like to say. I want him to always be remembered and this is a way of trying to make something good out of a tragic situation. It is kind of a healing thing for me and if we can help even just one person, it is worth it.”

The Sag Harbor community, added Haerter, has been unwaveringly supportive since Haerter’s death.

“The day we brought him home, for me, coming onto Main Street, the only thing I remember was stopping at the stop sign and seeing all the people lining the streets,” remember Haerter. “You could hear a pin drop. There was not a sound, not one person coughing, not one person talking, no babies crying. That meant more to me than all the tributes to him up and down Long Island.”

Haerter said since that tragic day, any time the organization or any organization for that matter, has needed anything, the Sag Harbor community has stepped up to the plate.

“It’s very special in that way,” he said. “Just to see how we all support each other.”


For more information on Jordan’s Initiative, visit http://jordansinitiative.com.

 


Richard Flood

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The North Haven resident and local builder has teamed up with Doug Herman to organize the inaugural Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project this Saturday in Sag Harbor. Haerter, a Sag Harbor native and Marine, was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber in April 2008, saving the lives of countless soldiers and Iraqi police officers.

When did you decide to organize a fishing tournament in Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter’s memory?

Without being pinned down to a date, it was probably back in June. A bunch of us guys were sitting around having beers when Doug Herman, and he really deserves the credit, said why don’t we have a fishing tournament in Jordan’s memory. It was something we thought the whole family could get involved in, especially since we have not had a fishing tournament in Sag Harbor in so long. It seemed like a lighter way, than a 21-gun salute, to honor Jordan; not that we don’t want to remember the fact that he is a fallen Marine, but we did think we could celebrate his memory in a lighter way, traditional to Sag Harbor.

What has been your relationship with Jordan and his family? Are they excited for the event?

I have been friends with Chris, Jordan’s father, I am going to say about 12 years, give or take a year. Chris is a true Sag Harbor local, meaning I am pretty sure he was born here. I have lived here for 14 years and Chris and Jordan were obviously involved in our lives, at parties, out on the boat, and with my son for a good part of that time. I know both JoAnn [Lyles, Jordan’s mother] and Chris are over the top about the event. We had a booth at HarborFest to promote the tournament and Chris had a tent next to us for the charitable organization he has founded in Jordan’s memory, Jordan’s Initiative, which provides for deployed troops and their families. They have been really great about getting the word out about the event.

The tournament and after party will benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project. Were you familiar with these organizations prior to putting this tournament together?

Well, I don’t think anyone could not be familiar with the Wounded Warrior Project. You would have to live in a cave out here to not have heard of them. It was Doug Herman who suggested Building Homes for Heroes because his cousin has been very active with that organization.

What kind of anglers would you like to see show up on Saturday? Do you expect this to be a family friendly event?

We want so much for this to be a family event, which is why in addition to the striped bass and fishing tournament we will have an event under the tent on Long Wharf starting at 11 a.m. We are hoping that with everyone who is fishing, their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends and children will come to the event, participate in the auctions and raffles and have a bite to eat. Peter Ambrose with The Sea Food Shop is paying for the tent which means the money we would have used for that will benefit Wounded Warrior and Building Homes for Heroes. This is all building for the future. If we only get 50 people, we are hoping for 200 next year. Hopefully we will have 200 this year.

The fishing itself will be a mixed bag – fathers and sons, brothers and brothers, friends, kids on boats. We are hosting a snapper derby for kids under ten at Long Wharf with free ice cream and one kid will get a trophy. We will also have a filet station, so if you want your fish filleted you can do that and anything people don’t want to keep we will donate to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.

Sag Harbor has been without its own fishing tournament in recent years. Do you envision this tournament becoming an annual event?

Yes. That is the whole thing. We want it to grow. In the short amount of time we have been organizing this we have had so much support. Wouldn’t it be nice if three years from now we had 50, 60 boats out there and hundreds of people coming to Sag Harbor the weekend after HarborFest because the tournament has become as memorable as HarborFest? It is a win-win situation if we can keep this going.

The Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project will be held this Saturday, September 19. Fishing is from Shinnecock Inlet to Montauk Point with no fishing allowed prior to 4 a.m. The weigh in party begins at 11 a.m. on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Cash prizes will be awarded in the adult and juniors division for the heaviest striped bass and bluefish, and food, auctions and raffles will also be held under the tent on Long Wharf. For more information or to register, contact Rich Flood at 774-7682.

Richard Flood

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web conversation with pic

The North Haven resident and local builder has teamed up with Doug Herman to organize the inaugural Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project this Saturday in Sag Harbor

When did you decide to organize a fishing tournament in Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter’s memory?

Without being pinned down to a date, it was probably back in June. A bunch of us guys were sitting around having beers when Doug Herman, and he really deserves the credit, said why don’t we have a fishing tournament in Jordan’s memory. It was something we thought the whole family could get involved in, especially since we have not had a fishing tournament in Sag Harbor in so long. It seemed like a lighter way, than a 21-gun salute, to honor Jordan; not that we don’t want to remember the fact that he is a fallen Marine, but we did think we could celebrate his memory in a lighter way, traditional to Sag Harbor.

What has been your relationship with Jordan and his family? Are they excited for the event?

I have been friends with Chris, Jordan’s father, I am going to say about 12 years, give or take a year. Chris is a true Sag Harbor local, meaning I am pretty sure he was born here. I have lived here for 14 years and Chris and Jordan were obviously involved in our lives, at parties, out on the boat, and with my son for a good part of that time. I know both JoAnn [Lyles, Jordan’s mother] and Chris are over the top about the event. We had a booth at HarborFest to promote the tournament and Chris had a tent next to us for the charitable organization he has founded in Jordan’s memory, Jordan’s Initiative, which provides for deployed troops and their families. They have been really great about getting the word out about the event.

The tournament and after party will benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project. Were you familiar with these organizations prior to putting this tournament together?

Well, I don’t think anyone could not be familiar with the Wounded Warrior Project. You would have to live in a cave out here to not have heard of them. It was Doug Herman who suggested Building Homes for Heroes because his cousin has been very active with that organization.

What kind of anglers would you like to see show up on Saturday? Do you expect this to be a family friendly event?

We want so much for this to be a family event, which is why in addition to the striped bass and fishing tournament we will have an event under the tent on Long Wharf starting at 11 a.m. We are hoping that with everyone who is fishing, their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends and children will come to the event, participate in the auctions and raffles and have a bite to eat. Peter Ambrose with The Sea Food Shop is paying for the tent which means the money we would have used for that will benefit Wounded Warrior and Building Homes for Heroes. This is all building for the future. If we only get 50 people, we are hoping for 200 next year. Hopefully we will have 200 this year.

The fishing itself will be a mixed bag – fathers and sons, brothers and brothers, friends, kids on boats. We are hosting a snapper derby for kids under ten at Long Wharf with free ice cream and one kid will get a trophy. We will also have a filet station, so if you want your fish filleted you can do that and anything people don’t want to keep we will donate to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.

Sag Harbor has been without its own fishing tournament in recent years. Do you envision this tournament becoming an annual event?

Yes. That is the whole thing. We want it to grow. In the short amount of time we have been organizing this we have had so much support. Wouldn’t it be nice if three years from now we had 50, 60 boats out there and hundreds of people coming to Sag Harbor the weekend after HarborFest because the tournament has become as memorable as HarborFest? It is a win-win situation if we can keep this going.

The Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fishing Tournament to benefit Building Homes for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project will be held this Saturday, September 19. Fishing is from Shinnecock Inlet to Montauk Point with no fishing allowed prior to 4 a.m. The weigh in party begins at 11 a.m. on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Cash prizes will be awarded in the adult and juniors division for the heaviest striped bass and bluefish, and food, auctions and raffles will also be held under the tent on Long Wharf. For more information or to register, contact Rich Flood at 774-7682.

Soldier Ride Honors Haerter and Wounded, Raises $200k

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From Main Street to  Long Beach, Sag Harbor was dripping in red, white and blue on Saturday, as cyclists and walkers participated in the Soldier Ride, the Hamptons, to honor Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter. JoAnn Lyles, Haerter’s mother, said it was poignant to watch as several disabled soldiers and marines rode on adaptive bikes over the bridge linking Sag Harbor and North Haven, which was recently renamed in her son’s honor, a Sag Harbor native who was killed last year in Iraq. A number of local veterans formed a line on the median, each holding an American flag and saluting the service men and women, many without limbs, as they paddled by.

Over 400 people registered to participate in Saturday’s event, but including the crowds of locals and visitors who cheered the cyclists and walkers on, Haerter’s father Christian believed closer to 800 people were in attendance. The event was comprised of a 28-mile or 65-mile bike ride and a 4-mile walk from Long Wharf to Long Beach. The 28-mile route started at the Amagansett American Legion, went through Sag Harbor and ended in Amagansett. The 65-mile route ended at the Montauk Lighthouse. A ceremony was held mid-way through the event on the Long Wharf. Haerter’s parents, Reggie Cornelia, a Soldier Ride organizer, actor Dan Akroyd, and the Lieutenant of Jordan’s platoon, Lieutenant Dan Runzheimer, spoke at the ceremony.

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According to Chris Carney, one of the founders of Soldier Ride, the event and a silent auction held on Saturday raised around $200,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing support for wounded service men and women.

“Checks are still coming in . . . but all said and done we raised over $200,000 which in this current economic atmosphere is amazing,” noted Carney. “We didn’t have a target [for our fundraising] . . . While the funds are desperately needed for the Wounded Warrior Project to continue, when they, [the service men and women], come up here it is really about them.”

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Soldier Ride, said Carney, is also a rehabilitative event, meant to connect wounded service men and women and help them remain active despite their disabilities. As the cyclists completed a victory lap through Main Street, the public seemed to be touched by these men and women’s perseverance.

“ I think a lot of people read about the sacrifices [made by service men and women], but when you are confronted with somebody who has lost their leg, they realize that this is a reality,” remarked Haerter. “I saw a lot of people weeping when they saw [the cyclists’] determination and pride.”

Almost 26 Marines from Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter’s platoon cycled in the event. The celebrations on Saturday, however, were bittersweet for these marines. On Friday, they learned a former member of their platoon Corporal Nicholas Xiarhos, who fought alongside Haerter, was recently killed in Afghanistan. As the young men made their way back to Amagansett, they took a detour to Oakland Cemetery, where Haerter is buried, to pay their respects.

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The men, along with 24 others, made up “Team Jordan” which was sponsored by Lyles and Christian Haerter. The team, said Haerter, raised almost $17,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, far exceeding his expectations.

According to Carney, the event in Sag Harbor will most likely be held again next year.

“I had so many people come up to me one Sunday, saying ‘next year we should do this.” They want to get more involved,” said Carney. “Soldier Ride continues to snowball as the word gets out . . . We are a unique organization because you can see and be apart of the people you are helping.”