Bring Bowe home

Kaitlin Fischer, Staff Writer

Bowe Bergdahl, age 27, was a sergeant in the army when he was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009. He still has not been rescued. This isn’t keeping people from spreading awareness about his situation, however, and one person has worked to do just that.

Junior Paul Oliger began following Bergdahl’s story a year ago when he found a military page on Facebook that was advocating for Bergdahl’s release. This motivated him to organize a run that was held on May 4 at Memorial Park.

“I decided that a fitness event would be something good to bring everyone together,” Oliger said. “It shows the little things the military goes through with physical training.”

To spread the word, Oliger handed out wristbands and flyers around school. 78 people attended the run including many of Oliger’s friends, teachers, family members and people from school. The run was on Channel 11 News the night before, so other people from his community could participate also.

“I first thought of the idea a few months ago when this one website that advocates for Bergdahl posted that they would supply bracelets for anyone who wanted to host an event,” Oliger said. “I decided that I wanted to do a 5K, shot them an email and they sent me a bunch of bracelets.”

Law enforcement teacher Frederick Sanders and sub-school principal Bryan Spiritus helped Oliger with details in the run like bringing water for the participants. Oliger’s parents ran the registration area and his friends took pictures and videos of the event.

Oliger is currently in ROTC and plans to enlist into the Texas National Guard in November. He will serve one weekend a month during the school year and attend training the summer after.

Oliger said Bergdahl is most likely in Pakistan, where the United States cannot enter. Oliger also said that he knows people in the capital are still trying to rescue him, but if anything is planned it will have to be in secret.

“I hope that all of the people participating showed political figures that people still care about him,” Oliger said. “We shouldn’t just leave him behind since people have forgotten about him.”

The run was free to participate in, but donations were accepted to try and aid the cause.

“It was just for awareness,” Oliger said.“If people wanted to donate we gave them a link to go to a website where they could donate. I know a few people donated $25, so I think a little over a hundred dollars was raised. It went to a website that makes billboards that put Bowe’s face on them with the amount of time he’s been captured and a few other things. They put them up on highways to raise awareness for him.”

Oliger is glad that he was able to help raise awareness about Bergdahl’s situation. Although he hopes he will never have to do something like the run again because he wants Bergdahl to be rescued, Oliger said that he would be more than happy to make another event for Bergdahl if he is not returned.

“It felt really good because I knew that I did something good, and I knew that all those people that came are making a difference in some way,” Oliger said. “Even if it was just a small difference of them just showing up and running, it was still a difference. All of those people now have bracelets and they’re now walking around telling people about it. A lot more people know about it – more than they used to.”