Wyckoff Student Interviews Local Heroes at Christian Health Care Center

Abigail Goodman, age 12, of Wyckoff was one of 20 finalists from more than 400 applications to become a reporter for “TimeforKids” Magazine, which is Time Magazine’s version written by children. They asked for a story about local heroes, and she chose to interview two World War II veterans at Evergreen Court, Christian Health Care Center’s supportive senior-housing complex. She interviewed Joe O’Dowd and Arthur Minck about their experiences during the war.

“After visiting the beaches and battle sites in Normandy, France, and learning about the World War II D-Day invasion, I decided to interview Wyckoff World War II veterans as my local heroes,” said Ms. Goodman. “I learned how they slept in fox holes, carried heavy weights on their back, swept ocean mines, worked on Navy aircrafts, and dodged enemy bullets to save our world from Nazi Germany. They are truly the greatest generation.”

Mr. O’Dowd served in the Navy during World War II. Following boot camp, he went to Key West, FL, to train in sonar submarine detection. He served on a mine sweeper, leaving New York for the Mediterranean and the Republic of Tunisia in North Africa, then to Italy to Naples and Polermo. During the Battle of Anzio, He swept the channel for the invasion of Anzio so the big ships could safely come in to bring supplies. They would drag a cable with a cutter on the end and cut the cables that secured the underwater mines bringing them up to float on the surface and destroy the mine. He saw two or three mines explode near the boat, and despite the German forces shooting at their boat to prevent them from destroying the mines, he didn’t sustain any injuries.

Mr. Minck enlisted in the Navy in May of 1945, and remarked that he chose the Navy over the Army “because I would rather sleep in a bed than a fox hole.” He attended basic training at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Sampson, NY. His 16-month tour of duty started as a Seaman First Class on the U.S.S. Honolulu in Newport News, VA, where it was sent for repairs after being damaged in the Pacific. Then he headed off on a “shakedown cruise” for two weeks in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also went to the Philadelphia Navy yard. Mr. Minck was discharged when the war ended.

Ms. Goodman thoroughly enjoyed interviewing the gentlemen, and they too, had a wonderful experience.

“I received such a nice thank-you note and a box of chocolates from Abigail, which was so sweet,” said Mr. O’Dowd.

“I am so pleased that Abigail chose to interview two of our residents to feature as local heroes,” said Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, CHCC President and CEO. “I also salute Abigail for her accomplishment and her interest in the rich histories of war veterans, who I believe are all heroes.”

Ms. Goodman recently completed the sixth grade at Eisenhower Middle School and is currently attending Dwight Englewood School.

CHCC provides a broad continuum of high-quality, compassionate care, offering superior senior-life, short-term rehab, and mental-health services. As a non-profit organization, we deliver care to our community based upon the Christian principles on which we were founded more than a century ago.

For information, visit ChristianHealthCare.org.

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