Missing U.S. Soldier 'A Very Fine Person'
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that the United States will do everything it can to find and free an American soldier who's been captured in Afghanistan. Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl appeared on a video made by his captors. His head was shaved, he was seen eating a meal and answering questions. Questions such as this one, where he's asked if he has a message for the American people.
Unidentified Man: Any message to your people?
Private First Class BOWE R. BERGDAHL (U.S. Army): Yes, to my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it's like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home.
BRAND: Private Bowe Bergdahl went missing about three weeks ago. He's from a small town in Idaho. Joining us now is Sue Martin. Bergdahl's parents asked her to speak to the media. Ms. Martin runs the coffee house Bowe Bergdahl worked in before he joined the Army. And Ms. Martin, when you hear Private Bergdahl in that video call for the troops to be brought home, what goes through your mind? What do you think?
Ms. SUE MARTIN (Owner, Zaney's River Street Coffee House): I can only comment on my relationship with Bowe as his employer and then eventually as a friend of his. And I believe Bowe to be a very capable and a very intelligent man. And I believe that he's doing the best he can do under the circumstances that he's currently being held in.
BRAND: Tell us a little bit about Bowe. What kind of person is he?
Ms. MARTIN: He's a very strong young man, both physically and emotionally strong. He's a - he was great with our customers. He made a lot of friends and he's a great example of a young man from America. He's a very fine person.
BRAND: I understand he liked to do ballet as well as fence?
Ms. MARTIN: Yes. He endured a lot of teasing about his participation in ballet. And I think he's continuing to get the last laugh because when they published the picture of the production he was in, he's the only man surrounded by beautiful, young, talented women. They finally realized why Bowe was in ballet.
BRAND: His parents asked you to be the spokeswoman. I wonder if you could tell us just how are his parents doing right now?
Ms. MARTIN: They're doing as well can be expected. They are a strong family as well and they're concerned that their request to remain private is honored and they appreciate that it has been done so, so far. And yes, Bob himself asked me to do these interviews and to also allow our business, Zaney's, to be a location where people could express their support.
BRAND: Hailey is a small town. I understand there are just 7,000 people there. It's near Sun Valley, near Ketchum. What's the scene there? Are you overrun by TV trucks?
Ms. MARTIN: There's the - you know, there's a lot of reporters here. And the adjustment to the media is going to be difficult for our little town because we're pretty used to the way things are here. But also grateful that maybe the media can assist in this situation, and get the word out that Bowe has our support. It's a difficult time.
BRAND: Well, Sue Martin, thank you very much for speaking with us.
Ms. MARTIN: Thank you.
BRAND: Sue Martin owns Zaney's River Street Coffee House in Hailey, Idaho. That's where Private Bowe Bergdahl used to work. He's the soldier who has been taken captive in Afghanistan.
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