Perspective on events

Each of the presentations in the Herald-Star Speaker Series has proven to be a interesting experience and has helped residents of the Tri-State Area gain new perspective into events of historical significance.

The formula that has worked very successfully, and we’re hoping to build on that when the series continues at 7:30 p.m. April 25 in Lanman Hall at Catholic Central High School. The speaker will be Mark “Oz” Geist, who was a member of the Annex Security Team that was charged with defending the U.S. diplomatic compound and annex is Benghazi, Libya. The account of the team’s heroic actions on the night of Sept. 11-12, 2012, has made for a powerful book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” and a powerful film, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Geist is listed as one of the co-authors of Mitchell Zukoff’s book, and he will share his story in a way that only a person who lived through an event can.

It’s a story that residents of our region are interested in hearing, as evidenced by the brisk ticket sales we experienced last week. It’s a great way to build on the resume of the series, which has included an impressive lineup.

Our first speakers, Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, were able to remind us about the period some remember as America’s Camelot, the administration of President John F. Kennedy. Hill’s experience protecting first lady Jacqueline Kennedy while a member of the Secret Service and his firsthand account of the president’s assassination in Dallas provided a powerful evening.

Also powerful was the presentation of Tony and Jonna Mendez. Tony was the CIA agent who was the mastermind behind the escape of American diplomats from Iran in 1980.

The diplomats, who had managed to escape when Iranians overtook the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, were taken out of the country under the very noses of the Iranians after Mendez created a cover story that involved a fake production crew working on a fake film, “Argo.” His story was told in the real film “Argo.”

Richard Phillips, meanwhile, saw his life transformed from that of a merchant mariner to the subject of an international news story after his ship was captured by Somali pirates. That story was dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.”

Retired Air Force Col. Mark Tillman provided a firsthand look at aftermath of the the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Tillman, who at the time was the commander of Air Force One, was charged with safely flying President George W. Bush and his staff back to Washington in the hours after terrorists turned commercial airliners into guided missiles and changed the lives of everyone in our country – and around the world – forever. He spoke in Steubenville on Sept. 11, 2014, and his message resonated with local servicemen and women, veterans and first responders, who were recognized that evening in the Steubenville High School Auditorium.

Last spring, Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg and suffered other damage to her body as a result of the Boston Marathon bombings, shared her story of strength and resilience.

A series like this can only exist, of course, with the continued support of local sponsors who share the belief that offering the opportunity to hear nationally and internationally recognized speakers at an affordable cost to local residents is important. Once again, we’re proud to team with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Eastern Gateway Community College, Trinity Health System, Cattrell Cos. Inc., the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV. We’re also pleased to be able to join with Catholic Central, which will host the series for the first time; the Best Western Plus University Inn; Piergallini Catering; Newbrough Photo; Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental; and Valley Wine Cellar, whose efforts ensure the event will be a great experience.

That support allows us to offer a reserved seat ticket to the presentation for $20. Students can attend the presentation at no charge, thanks to EGCC. A special VIP package is available at a cost of $100 per couple or $75 for an individual.

That package includes a meet-and-greet with Geist; a selection of beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres; the opportunity to have a photograph taken with Geist; a copy of the book “13 Hours;” a parking pass; and preferred seating for the presentation in Lanman Hall.

You can purchase tickets in person at the Herald-Star office or at Catholic Central. Tickets also can be ordered by phone at (740) 283-4711, or online at heraldstaronline.com or weirtondailytimes.com. For information about the VIP package, contact Cindy Kotsch at (740) 283-4711. Copies of the book “13 Hours” will be available for purchase for $25 at the Herald-Star this week.

Geist’s story is dramatic, and is one we look forward to hearing. We hope you’ll join us.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

Perspective on events

Each of the presentations in the Herald-Star Speaker Series has proven to be a interesting experience and has helped residents of the Tri-State Area gain new perspective into events of historical significance.

The formula that has worked very successfully, and we’re hoping to build on that when the series continues at 7:30 p.m. April 25 in Lanman Hall at Catholic Central High School. The speaker will be Mark “Oz” Geist, who was a member of the Annex Security Team that was charged with defending the U.S. diplomatic compound and annex is Benghazi, Libya. The account of the team’s heroic actions on the night of Sept. 11-12, 2012, has made for a powerful book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” and a powerful film, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Geist is listed as one of the co-authors of Mitchell Zukoff’s book, and he will share his story in a way that only a person who lived through an event can.

It’s a story that residents of our region are interested in hearing, as evidenced by the brisk ticket sales we experienced last week. It’s a great way to build on the resume of the series, which has included an impressive lineup.

Our first speakers, Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, were able to remind us about the period some remember as America’s Camelot, the administration of President John F. Kennedy. Hill’s experience protecting first lady Jacqueline Kennedy while a member of the Secret Service and his firsthand account of the president’s assassination in Dallas provided a powerful evening.

Also powerful was the presentation of Tony and Jonna Mendez. Tony was the CIA agent who was the mastermind behind the escape of American diplomats from Iran in 1980.

The diplomats, who had managed to escape when Iranians overtook the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, were taken out of the country under the very noses of the Iranians after Mendez created a cover story that involved a fake production crew working on a fake film, “Argo.” His story was told in the real film “Argo.”

Richard Phillips, meanwhile, saw his life transformed from that of a merchant mariner to the subject of an international news story after his ship was captured by Somali pirates. That story was dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.”

Retired Air Force Col. Mark Tillman provided a firsthand look at aftermath of the the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Tillman, who at the time was the commander of Air Force One, was charged with safely flying President George W. Bush and his staff back to Washington in the hours after terrorists turned commercial airliners into guided missiles and changed the lives of everyone in our country – and around the world – forever. He spoke in Steubenville on Sept. 11, 2014, and his message resonated with local servicemen and women, veterans and first responders, who were recognized that evening in the Steubenville High School Auditorium.

Last spring, Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg and suffered other damage to her body as a result of the Boston Marathon bombings, shared her story of strength and resilience.

A series like this can only exist, of course, with the continued support of local sponsors who share the belief that offering the opportunity to hear nationally and internationally recognized speakers at an affordable cost to local residents is important. Once again, we’re proud to team with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Eastern Gateway Community College, Trinity Health System, Cattrell Cos. Inc., the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV. We’re also pleased to be able to join with Catholic Central, which will host the series for the first time; the Best Western Plus University Inn; Piergallini Catering; Newbrough Photo; Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental; and Valley Wine Cellar, whose efforts ensure the event will be a great experience.

That support allows us to offer a reserved seat ticket to the presentation for $20. Students can attend the presentation at no charge, thanks to EGCC. A special VIP package is available at a cost of $100 per couple or $75 for an individual.

That package includes a meet-and-greet with Geist; a selection of beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres; the opportunity to have a photograph taken with Geist; a copy of the book “13 Hours;” a parking pass; and preferred seating for the presentation in Lanman Hall.

You can purchase tickets in person at the Herald-Star office or at Catholic Central. Tickets also can be ordered by phone at (740) 283-4711, or online at heraldstaronline.com or weirtondailytimes.com. For information about the VIP package, contact Cindy Kotsch at (740) 283-4711. Copies of the book “13 Hours” will be available for purchase for $25 at the Herald-Star this week.

Geist’s story is dramatic, and is one we look forward to hearing. We hope you’ll join us.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)