Abigail Goodman ‘20 was named a Top 20 reporter finalist for Time’s “Time for Kids” (TFK) online youth magazine based on a story featuring three World War II veterans, who reside at the Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff. Her story was spurned by the final round of the contest to become a TFK reporter, which called for her to write about a local hero. Although she did not ultimately become a TFK reporter, it seems she did appreciate the experience: “I’m not sure if I will end up as a reporter, writer, journalist, or something else, but I enjoy speaking to all kinds of people at all different ages and sharing what I learn to inspire others,” she said in an interview with the Wyckoff Suburban News.
“I was inspired by how these soldiers risked their lives and the courage they demonstrated,” she said of her interest in veterans, which was originally sparked by touring D-Day sites during a family trip to Normandy, France.
“After my trip to Normandy, I realized, that my local heroes were World War II veterans who were still alive,” Abigail said. “I wanted to meet World War II veterans in my town, hear and share their stories.”
However, she didn’t personally know of any veterans, which led her to research online, at the library and through local veteran posts – one of which provided names and a contact at the Christian Health Care Center, and led to her interviews with Clarence Baker, Arthur Minck and Joe O’Dowd.
“One story that particularly sticks out was Mr. Baker’s description of the harsh conditions he endured in the fox hole,” she said. “He spoke of sleeping, eating and surviving in a fox hole, despite cold weather and snow. I find this amazing and was so impressed by how people sacrificed themselves for this country.
“I was impressed by their love of the United States and sense of duty,” she continued. “I look up to World War II veterans because I value their commitment, dedication and because they saved our lives … Veterans from all wars are special people and deserve to be honored.”