Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Story That Will Make You Proud to Be An American

      One of the great privileges of being a County Legislator is having many opportunities to meet our local heroes and to express our gratitude for their great work.

This week I went to a press conference at North Shore University/Long Island Jewish Hospital to recognize the outstanding work of Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh. Dr. Alizadeh is a distinguished plastic surgeon based in Garden City who performed four months of treatment on little Waad Baktar.

Waad is 9 years old and from Iraq . He was on his way home from school with his friends when he was nearly blown apart by an IED (improvised explosive device). He was severely burned, lost an eye, an arm, and a leg.

Some of our Troops in Iraq took up the cause of Waad and connected him with Elissa Montanti of Global Medical Relief Fund, who facilitated Waad and his mother's journey to America . She set them up with lodging and coordinated treatment with Shriners Hospital in Pennsylvania , Annette Kirszrot Ocular Prosthetics in New York City , and Dr. Alizadeh.
Waad was fitted with several prosthetics including an eye and replacements for his lost limbs. Dr. Alizadeh miraculously reconstructed Waads face and foot so that this young boy could return home to Iraq with a second chance at life.

Meeting little Waad and his grateful mother was incredibly moving and made me so proud to be an American. I am so proud of our Military Men and Women. They excel at defeating our enemies and protecting our freedom and interests, and at the same time exhibit great love and compassion for those in need. I am proud of our charitable organizations like Elissa Montanti's Global Medical Relief Fund and the Shriners Hospital . We are an extremely generous nation and we have willingly shared our many blessings with the world. I am also tremendously proud of our healthcare system. We are blessed to have the finest Doctors in their fields, like Dr. Alizadeh, the finest medical facilities like North Shore University/LIJ and a system that rewards innovation and progress.

All of these amazing American groups and individuals selflessly worked together to aid one little boy from another land. It is important for future generations that these American institutions that are a force for good and source of hope in the world are preserved.

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