09 September 2011

Floodwaters receeding in Central Pennsylvania

It was just like old times last night: I spent the night in the hospital and it brought back plenty of memories from years and years of residency. Hospital graham crackers and peanut butter taste the same as they always did.
We have had several days of flood here in central Pennsylvania. Tropical Storm Lee sat over western Pennsylvania, spinning a continuous band of rain over the Susquehanna Valley. Wednesday school closed early because route 642 was going to be underwater soon and the buses wouldn't be able to get the children home. Our friend picked up the boys and took a detour home over Bald Top Mountain before that route closed too. Mahoning Creek rose to a wild muddy torrent and crested the railroad bridge at routes 11 and 54. State officials and townspeople gathered together to fill sandbags to block route 11 and keep the creek from flooding the center of town where the levee ends.

Here is a song and video by Van Wagner, a bluegrass musician here in Danville:


Downtown, street after street was coned off as the low crossings filled with water. Church St., Pine St., Ferry St., and even the main route Mill St. got too deep for cars to make it through. A canal runs through Danville where goods used to be floated to the railroad when there used to be factories here. The canal had crested its banks and was tearing away at the pavement on Ferry St. by the hardware store and beer distributor.

Part of the reason I am so well nestled into town is that I only have a mile commute to the hospital. That commute does involve crossing the Susquehanna River via the Riverside bridge. Yesterday the river hit the bottom of the bridge and there were rumors it might soon be submerged. I checked in with the incident command center at the hospital and decided to stay overnight just in case my route to the hospital went down.

Fortunately, it was a quiet night, and by morning the river had crested just under 32 feet. It was a close second to the record from Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and beat the previous second place from 1904. But the bridge was still open, so when my partner made it to the hospital, I headed back home for a shower. It was so sad to see all the houses along the river with water lapping at their first story windows. We were fortunate to only have a few inches in the basement which we kept at bay with a sump pump. It was a warm sunny day and it seemed the whole town was out, walking, pumping water, and dragging soggy belongings out of basements. I hope our neighbors displaced by the flood are back in their homes soon.

23 June 2011

Requesting help for a Hatian doctor

Last October, I visited Haiti for a two week medical mission. We were able to see over a thousand patient and performed over fifty operations. I got to meet Dr. Yvens Cassamajor, a Hatian doctor in training who was completing a rotating internship througout the country. Yvens contacted me to tell me about a project he is starting for people living with HIV in the city of Cap-Hatien. He is in need of funds to support his research. Please consider assisting him in this venture. Donations can be made on this site:


Thank you for any help you can give, and please consider passing this post along to others.

Chris Coppola

03 May 2011

19 March 2011

Check the can! (See, I'm not the only one)

As see the parade of cars flowing in and out of Wal*Mart, I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who makes a stink about buying American. So when I received this (Thanks, Clark!) I had to reprint it. Does it mean I'm not crazy since I found at least one other person who feels this way?

(*** begin quote ***)

> Check The Can
> Did you all see that Diane Sawyer has a special report coming up this week on this very subject. They removed ALL items from a typical, middleclass family's home, that were not made in the USA . There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they are going to show truckloads of items - USA made - being brought in to replace everything. And will be talking about how to find these items and the difference in price etc.

> It was interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64 (more than normal) on USA made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs.

> Made ME think!

> Check the Can



> Are we Americans as dumb as we appear --- or --- is it that we just do not think? While the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets.
> Yet 70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.
> Well, duh..why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges?

> Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 'Made in China ' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

> Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example, the point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.
> THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor...fast!!

> The downside? Some American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory. Wahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

> The solution? Let's give them fair warning and send our own message. Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on March. 4th and continue it until April. 4th That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

> Remember, March. 4th to April. 4th

> Send this to everybody you know. Let's show them that we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted.
> If we can't live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!

> Pass it on, America .

(*** end quote ***)

my favorite part? Waaaaaaaah!

By the way, there is no reason to stop buying American when 4 APR rolls around. I'm keeping it up!

Also, let's keep in mind the US and allied forces involved in the Libya strikes and whatever is to come next.

10 March 2011

Keeping perspective

Passing along this Facebook post I read on milblogging.com

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he`s a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

Read more ---->

"Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay Minnesota man who went back in the closet to join the military, died Sunday while on patrol in Afghanistan when an IED exploded during an attack on his unit. He was 31. And his mother loved him very, very much."
From Queerty at http://www.queerty.com/cpl-andrew-wilfahrt-died-in-afghanistan-a-semi-closeted-gay-soldier-nobody-cares-about-sexuality-20110305/#ixzz1GF6fuZ4M

"The Army says 21-year-old Spc. Brian Tabada of Las Vegas died Feb. 27 in the Kunar province. The Army says Tabada suffered fatal injuries when his unit came under fire from small arms and a rocket propelled grenade."
From Army Times at http://militarytimes.com/valor/army-spc-brian-tabada/5837150/

Rudolph Hizon, 21 was know as Ryan to his friends and loved ones: "Hizon died Feb. 28, in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He had deployed to Afghanistan with his unit in October, according to officials at Ft. Polk where he was based."

"Chauncy's 3-year-old daughter waved an American flag as her father's coffin, draped in red, white, and blue was lifted from the plane. Katherine watched as her husband's body was prepared for its final journey home.
     'He made sure to tell me at least once a day that he loved me and for me to tell the kids that he loved them and to give them kisses,' Katherine recalled."

SSGT Mays actually died alongside another soldier when their unit in Afghanistan was attacked with an IED. Also Killed was SPC Christopher Stark. "Stark’s “strong sense of loyalty and devotion to his team made him a very reliable technician,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Chandara Hak of Santa Rosa, Calif., and 705th EOD member. “You could always count on Spc. Stark to have your back in any situation.”

Also killed in the same time period:
Sgt. Kristopher J. Gould, 25 of Saginaw Michigan, on his third deployment, in Ghazni Province when his unit was attacked with an IED.

PFC David R. Fahey, a 23 year old from Norwalk, CT, in Kandahar when his unit was attacked with and IED.

Killed since these deaths were reported:

SRA Nicholas J Alden, 25, of Williamston, SC, and A1C Zachary R. Cuddeback of VA., both of a shooting at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. “German officials say a 21-year-old temporary letter sorter has admitted targeting Americans when he opened fire with a handgun on a busload of U.S. airmen at Frankfurt's airport on Wednesday, killing two and wounding two others. The airmen were on their way to deployment in Afghanistan.”

From The Associated Press, as reported in The Canadian Press: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5ggs7kjNrFRDxHHINEV1E1ZD-4RtA?docId=6135932

SPC Jason M. Weaver, killed in an IED attack in Khandahar. SPC Weaver enlisted in the Army as an MP.

CPL Jordan Stanton, of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, 20, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand. “He was a wonderful young man and doing everything for his country,” said June Romine, an aunt of Stanton’s. “We’re all very proud of Jordan and all that he has accomplished.”
From Patch: http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/jordan-stanton-rsm-resident-killed-in-afghanistan

SSGT Mark C Wells, 31, of San Jose, CA, who died of wounds suffered in an IED attack in Helmand. Before deploying to Afghanistan in August, he had served 14 months in Iraq.

PFC Kalin C. Johnson, 19, of Lexington, SC, died in Afghanistan of non-combat injuries. No further details have been released from the DOD. “It’s just heartbreaking. It’s horrible. He had a small child,” Christina Chandler of Lexington told the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C.

SPC Andrew P Wade, 22, Antioch, IL died 9 MAR of a non combat related incident in Kunduz. "He's not only like a best friend to me, he's like a brother, someone you can't replace in life. And the memories we're all going to remember, we're going to take that with us and always remember what a great person he was," said Steve McNutt, friend.
As a member of the Antioch High School soccer team, Wade played sweeper, a crucial position that anchors the defense. It was a perfect role for him.

CPL Loren M. Buffalo, 20, of Mountain Pine, AK, also died yesterday when attacked with an IED.

I had heard nothing about these troops until I started looking, but I have seen Charlie Sheen on the news every day for the past week. We need to remember that we are at war and our fellow citizens are in danger. Their families are at home worried about them.

We owe them more thanks then we could ever give.

09 March 2011

RJ Julia bookstore teams up with Give A Bike

Passing along an announcement from my Mother:

Hi Everyone,

This Saturday, March 12th, RJ Julia Bookstore in Madison will donate 15% of your purchase to Adam and Christy's charity, Give A Bike, when you mention Give A Bike at the time of your purchase!

Adam and Christy are biking through all 50 states in order to raise money for two charities: World Bicycle Relief and Achilles International which through Wounded Warriers provides hand powered bicycles to returning veterans with amputations. Their goal is to raise $25,000 for their cause. They begin their journey in January in San Diego and they are presently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Please assist them in their goal by purchasing books and/or gift items at RJ Julia's this Saturday.
There are three ways to make a purchase.

1) The bookstore is located at 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. It is open Saturday from 10 AM til 8 PM.

2) Online at www.rjjulia.com. Write in the comment section that you designate Give A Bike as the charity you would like direct their donation towards.

3) Call the store at 203.245.3959 or 1.800.74READS and mention Give A Bike when making a purchase.

RJ Julia is a wonderful independent bookstore and you are in for a real treat if you haven't been there. Don't forget upcoming birthdays, Mother's day, Father's day, Easter books, bookgroup books, gardening and craft books. The staff is amazing and will gladly assist you with your selection.

Thank you so very much for your continued support of Adam and Christy's charity tour and thanks to RJ Julia Booksellers for donating 15% of their sales. You can learn more about Adam's and Christy's charity bike ride and follow them as they make their way across the U.S. at

Please pass this email on to your family and friends.

Thank you!

08 March 2011

Hoffer Book Award

I am very proud to announce that Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq is under consideration for the Hoffer Award.


The award honors small publishers and new writing of interest.

We will find out in April if we were selected, but it is an honor just to be considered!

05 March 2011

Important Made in America report!

Take a moment to check out this ABC story on the Usry family in Dallas. They let ABC news empty their house of any item not made in America. The result, a nearly empty home. Just about the only thing left was their kitchen sink. Even the girls "American Girl" dolls were made in China!

It took some researching and phone calls, but the team was able to re furnish their home 100% made in the USA. One of the toughest items to find? A coffee maker! The answer, a Bunnomatic.

As the report states, if every American spends just 33 dollars each year on products made in America, it will create over 100,000 new jobs!

Here is the report:


23 February 2011

Adam and Christy: biking through KS, MO, and AR!

Here's the latest from Adam and Christy's 50-state bike tour to raise money to help rehabilitate wounded veterans with specialized bikes:

GIVE A BIKE-50 State Bike-KS-MO-AR from Adam Coppola on Vimeo.

more at


20 February 2011

Trauma Czar in Bagram Afghanistan: Dr. Zonies

Just found this great article:


from DEC Washington Post about Dr. David Zonies. He's the trauma czar running the Air Force Hospital in Bagram Afghanistan. I got to work with him in San Antonio: he's an amazing surgeon. It's good to know our troops are in such capable hands!

(Picture Source: Washington Post)

18 February 2011

Radio interview with WPSU's Patty Satalia (and way 30/365)

Here is an interview I just did with Patty Satalia of WPSU broadcasting:


It was a nice chance to talk about the book again, and so much time has passed since my deployment that it was a moment to reflect on how different my life is now.

M told me that deployments were becoming a distant memory, and it was harder to remember all the details. It's true for me too that I think of it less often, but when I do, it is still so vivid, and I can even smell the beef jerky and bad coffee if I concentrate! When I dream about it, it seems so real. (But with my schedule I don't dream that often!)

Every day I see how much easier it is here at Geisinger to take care of children. I'm surrounded by a wonderful support staff, I live a mile from the hospital, and all I have to worry about is giving my best for kids every day. It's also great working with two additional pediatric surgeons; I can always call on a skilled set of eyes, hands, and brains to consult when I get into tall grass.

In other exciting news...

My brother Adam and sister-in-law Christy have biked through 4 states in the past month making amazing progress in their year long 50-state bike tour, "GIVE A BIKE".

Donations to their cause help veterans: they are raising money to help buy hand-pedalled bikes for veteran amputees through Achilles International Wounded Warriors Team.

Read about it here:


Here is one of their videos:

GIVE A BIKE 50 State Tour Teaser from Adam Coppola on Vimeo.

08 February 2011

Take a Soldier Fishing! (29/365)

Just received the below newsletter from Take a soldier fishing!


I met Mike Nashif on a Wheelers for the Wounded ride in Marble Falls Texas. He continues to be totally gung ho about helping veterans, families, and kids. His organization organizes fishing trips for troops, and for the big get togethers, he organizes fishing tournaments. In the news letter below you can check out the upcoming events: pay special attention to the battle of the branches to see which of the branches can pull the best line!

(***** Take a Soldier Fishing Newsletter Below *****)

Hello Everyone and welcome to our first newsletter of 2011. This newsletter is designed to keep you in mind and up to date with any of the changes that we have made or help promote an upcoming event. The only reason that TASF exists today is because of our many volunteers and supporters that have the same drive to support our Soldiers in a different way. We truly are helping to change lives, one fishing trip at a time. Don't pass it on to your friends or family to be the one to show support - get involved. This year you have the option to sign up as a fisherman, pleasure boater, or a PWC donor as well as a general volunteer. You can get involved and you can make a difference in a Soldiers life.

Working Warriors Tournament Series
This year we have kicked off 2011 with our new tournament series that is dedicated to our Soldiers and designed to help raise funds to offset any costs we may have to hold an event. The money raised goes to ensure that all of our events remain free for the soldiers and their families that attend. If you would like to start your own Working Warriors Tournaments to help Take a Soldier Fishing raise funds then please contact us at info@takeasoldierfishing.com
So far we have had 3 tournaments with a total of 23 teams and have raised over $400 to help soldiers. The next Tournament is going to be this weekend hosted by Media Bass on February 12, 2011. Media Bass scheduled their tournament with Jackson Hill Marina and has also decided that they will be able to have at least 5 teams that would like to participate in the Working Warriors Tournament as well. By doing this, Media Bass has become our Host Club for this tournament. It is simple and easy to do and it doesn't just have to be bass fishing. If your club likes to Crappie fish or go catfishing - your club can become a Host for Working Warriors.





Please send donations to:

Take a Soldier Fishing

1705 FM 2851

Broaddus, Tx 75929

Battle of the Branches

Our first ever Battle of the Branches tournament will be held this year on beautiful Sam Rayburn in Deep East Texas. The host park is being donated by Angelina County for the event to be held at Cassels-Boykin Park to be held on Veteran's Day weekend of 2011. The actual dates of the tournament are November 12 & 13, 2011 and the entry fee is $150. The Battle of the Branches is only open to members of the Armed Forces. This means that if you have ever served our Country and have a Valid Military ID card or a DD214, you may participate. You may visit us on the web at www.battleofthebranches.org for more information, rules, and to sign up.

Schedule of Events for 2011

Feb. - 5 - Working Warriors

Feb. - 18 - 20 - TASF Sam Rayburn - 40 Single Soldiers

Feb. - 26 - Working Warriors


Mar. - 5 - Working Warriors - Hosted by Media Bass

Mar. - 12 - Working Warriors

Mar. - 26 - Working Warriors


Apr. - 23 - Working Warriors


May - 8 - 13 - TASF In Harm's Way Sitka AK - 20 Wounded Soldiers DFW Airport

May - 15 - 20 - TASF In Harm's Way Sitka, AK - 20 Wounded Soldiers Ft. Lewis, WA

May - 14 - TASF Lake Barkley, KY - 50 Soldiers - Ft. Campbell, Ky

May - 20 - 22 - Warriors Weekend - 100 Wounded Soldiers (Ft. Hood/Ft. Polk) - Port O'Connor, TX

May - 28 - 29 - Working Warriors Family Tournament


June - 3 - 5 - TASF Sam Rayburn Texas - 20 Families - Jackson Hill Marina

June - 4 - 6 - TASF Henry Hagg Lake, Oregon - 40 Soldiers

June - 11 - Working Warriors - Hosted by Media Bass

June - 10 - 12 - TASF Lake Fork Texas - 30 Single Soldiers/15 Families - Mustang Resort


July - 2 - Working Warriors

July - 15 - 17 - TASF Lake Ray Roberts, Texas - Family Camping - Isle DuBois State Park

July - 23 - Working Warriors


August - 6 - Working Warriors


Sept. - 10 - Working Warriors

Sept. - 16 - 18 - TASF Naples, Florida - 50 Soldiers

Sept. - 23 - 25 - TASF Sam Rayburn, Texas - 40 Single Soldiers - Jackson Hill Marina


Oct. - 8 - TASF Montauk, New York - 40 Soldiers

Oct. - 29 - 30 - Working Warriors - Championship Tournament


Nov. - 12 - 13 - Battle Of The Branches - Military Bass Tournament - $150 entry - Cassells Boykin County Park

Nov. - 16 - 18 - TASF Texoma, Texas - 50 single Soldiers - Tanglewood Resort

Nov. - 16 - 18 - Single Families Turkey Dinner - 22 Families from Ft. Polk, LA - Jackson Hill Marina

Schedule may change without notice for any reason. Please check our website for the latest changes or additions to our schedule.

All with all non profits we are always in need of money, time, products, services or just about any other kind of donation you can think of. This year make a difference in a soldiers life by donating your time and be a volunteer boater. Just think, you could be the person in a soldiers life that could be the deciding factor to keep that soldier from committing suicide. A kind heart and an empty boat seat is all it takes. Even if you don't catch any fish, you just made a friend for life and a new memory. You can make a difference, just like we do, one fishing trip at a time. So please donate what you can to help us change lives. If you don't fish but have a pleasure boat, you too can get involved. Sign up as a volunteer and let us know how you want to help.

11 January 2011

Help my brother Adam to help veterans!

I want to tell you about the amazing mission on which my brother Adam and sister-in-law Christy have just embarked.


They will spend the next year biking through all 50 states to raise money for two important causes: helping injured veterans rehabilitate and helping families in Africa without transportation. They started in San Diego on Saturday and have made it as far as Cleveland National Forest.

They are raising money to purchase hand-powered bicycles for use by veterans who have had leg amputations after combat injuries. They are working with the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans of Achilles International. Achiles International has been helping injured veterans rehabilitate and even complete marathons. They work with veterans treated at Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Balboa Medical Center.

They will also be raising money to donate bikes to families in Africa for whom a bike can mean the chance to get to a job, move good to and from market, and the ability to achieve access to health care through World Bicycle Relief

You can donate to their mission here:

and check their website for opportunities to sponsor a specific day, a state, or a region of the country:


You can follow Adam and Christy's progress on

twitter: http://twitter.com/giveabike