No prolonged setup needed for this tale of terror: Hershey Bears’ fan Jason Hartle, afflicted with cerebral palsy, attended a Bears’ game at Giant Center back in December, returned home that night in his specially equipped van, only to awaken the next morning and discover it stolen. Police in his community have informed Jason’s family that the odds of ever finding the van are long. Without his van, Jason’s basically rendered confined to his home. The grisly, ghastly story broke earlier this week in the Hanover (Pa.) Evening Sun.
Insurance covers only a fraction of the cost needed for a replacement van. This weekend, beginning with tonight’s game against Albany, the Hershey Bears are doing their part: at tonight’s game the Bears’ Booster Club is accepting donations for Jason at their table behind Giant Center section 117. John Walton has done a magnificent job of drawing attention to Jason’s plight on his blog and across social media late this week.
We remember vividly how well our American League partner community responded a couple of years back when we sought to raise money for the Wilson High hockey program, the District’s only public high school hockey program. Now we get a chance to help out a vulnerable and victimized member of their community.
Beginning with tomorrow’s matinee with Tampa the Capitals have three home dates remaining before the Olympic break. Over the next week, concluding with next Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, OFB will have bloggers at each game, in the stands and in the press box, and if you shoot us an email expressing interest in helping out Jason via your hand-held, one of us will come to your seat with a donation envelope for Jason. A single dollar will say a lot about your concern. And it will help.
We’ll be joining a pack of DC hockey bloggers for a weekend roadtrip back up to Hershey during the Olympic break, and we want to take an envelope stuffed with helping cash and hand it off to John Walton that weekend. That’s the mission here.
Let’s say you won’t be attending any of the next three Caps’ home games and still want to help out. The Hershey Bears have got you covered. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and your help will be channeled.
The Washington and Hershey hockey communities, Walton reports, have already distinguished themselves with their generosity in this matter. No matter. If this weekend Bears’ fans raise the necessary $3,000 in donations needed to replace Jason’s van, we’ll apply your big-hearted charity to ensuring that Jason is seated in Giant Center for the playoffs this spring. This was a terrible, terrible wrong perpetrated against a vulnerable member of our hockey community. We’ll right it, and in winning style.