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Friday, May 9, 2014

UWBA Day of Action Set for June 21

The longest day of the year will be an impactful one as well, with the United Way of the Bradford Area’s 4th Annual Live United Day of Action scheduled for Saturday, June 21st.

The event, sponsored by American Refining Group and the Philo and Sarah Blaisdell Foundation, will focus on providing an interactive learning experience for young children by installing a Born Learning trail at Callahan Park. The trail will consist of 10 (12” by 24”) aluminum signs, placed throughout the park, and printed with engaging, early learning activities. Shapes, letters, and a 12’ hopscotch court will adorn the park’s sidewalks, which correspond with the signs’ activities. Although geared toward children up to age five, the trail also serves as a tool to help parents and caregivers find simple, yet clever ways, to incorporate education into a child’s daily life, beginning at the earliest possible stages.

“I am excited for our organization to be able to offer this to our local community,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis. “I truly believe this will be a wonderful addition to our area’s main public park, and it’s another excellent way to boost early learning and literacy activities.

“And, I’m very thankful to not only our event sponsors, but to Parks Director Chip Comilla, Mayor Tom Riel and members of Bradford City Council for their support,” said Davis.

The 10 stations will focus on areas such as talking with your child about their surroundings; telling stories; being active as a family; and turning simple ideas into learning games, among others. “We are going to be using the majority of the park, starting at the main entrance by the high school parking lot, and continuing on passed the ice rink and tennis courts, to the bridge which is located in between two of the three baseball fields,” said Davis.

The United Way is looking for interested volunteers to help for roughly four hours the day of the event, as well as before.

“We do need people to help us with painting the posts before June 21st, and then the day of we will be looking for help with affixing the signs to each post, digging the holes and cementing the posts there, painting the graphics on the sidewalks, and guiding park visitors around the areas where work will be taking place,” said Davis.

Those interested in participating should contact the office at 368-6181, or register on-line at Davis suggests that those interested do sign up by Friday, May 30th. This year’s event will coincide with United World Wide's national Day of Action activities. Volunteers from the Bradford area will be joining thousands of other volunteers across the country aiming to “live united”. Established by United Way Worldwide, Born Learning is part of a public engagement campaign to help parents, grandparents, and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun, learning opportunities for area youth.

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Man Who Threatened Nurses Sent to Prison

A man who threatened nurses at Bradford Manor and spit in the mouth of a police officer who was trying to take him into custody is headed to state prison.

44-year-old Shannon Shroyer of Eldred waved a pocket knife at nurses and inappropriately touched one of the nurses last August while he was a patient at the manor. Shroyer has hepatitis C, so the police officer had to be tested to see if he contracted it.

He was sentenced to one to two years in prison but given credit for 264 days of time served. He has also been ordered to register as a sex offender.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Allegany SP

The hemlock woolly adelgid has made its way to Allegany State Park.

The NYS Parks Office says the invasive insect that kills hemlock trees was found by trained citizen scientist volunteers at two locations while performing area searches within the park. The find was confirmed by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The State Parks Office says it has taken steps to eliminate the hemlock woolly adelgid and will step up efforts to find additional infestations.

The insect was on the Allegheny National Forest last year in the Tionesta Research Natural Area, Cook Forest and Clear Creek state parks this past spring, and near the Clarion and Allegheny rivers as well as Webbs Ferry.

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New Phone Scam in Catt County

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Cocaine, Cash Found During Search

The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force found $8,500 worth of cocaine and $5,000 in cash during a search at an Allegany man’s house Thursday night.

30-year-old Thomas Stanczykowski is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Police also found scales and paraphernalia, a large quantity of pills and weapons.

They say the arrest came after investigation of several months into the sale and trafficking of illegal drugs in the Allegany, Olean and Salamanca areas. They say more arrests are expected.

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Men Charged for Breaking into Port Beverage

Two Port Allegany men are facing charges for breaking into Port Beverage early Wednesday morning and stealing a money bag.

Police say 22-year-old David Hurd and 22-year-old Alexander Morris were identified through surveillance video posted on Facebook. They are in McKean County Jail on $20,000 bail each.

The money bag had nearly $13,000 in cash and checks in it.

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Pharmacy Burglar Sent to State Prison

The Smethport man who robbed Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy in Eldred in September will spend the next two to eight years in state prison.

30-year-old Adam Bachman stole 151 Oxycontin pills during the robbery.

His co-defendant, 23-year-old Chase Lotter of Eldred, has already been sentenced for his part in the robbery.

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Woman Sentenced for Fatal Crash

The Port Allegany woman who was driving the car during a crash that killed her best friend will spend 11 to 23 months in jail.

23-year-old Emily Schultz pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and DUI charges last month, and was sentenced Thursday in McKean County Court.

In January of last year Schultz was driving on Fogels Crossing Road when she crashed the car that ended up on its roof in the Lower Portage Creek.

Emily Schena of Port Allegany drowned in the creek after the crash.

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Man Jailed for Threatening Bradford Doctor at Home

A man is accused of breaking into a Bradford doctor’s house Wednesday night, watching him and a woman sleep and later threatening to kill them.

Court papers say 28-year-old Lachlan Ross went to the home of Dr. Peter Vaccaro while he and Lindsay Shine were sleeping. Later, he said he watched them sleep and also moved Vaccaro’s pistol. He also sent a text message to Shine saying that if she and Vaccaro stayed together he would kill them both.

Ross went back to the house later and told Vaccaro what he had done and where he moved the pistol. Vaccaro later told police that Ross had been in his house multiple times without invitation, according to court papers.

Ross is in McKean County Jail on $40,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in McKean County Central Court next week.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Money Taken from Emporium Borough Building

Someone took money from the Borough of Emporium earlier this year, but no charges will be field.

State police say the person took money from the borough building between January 16 and February 11 for personal use, but has since made restitution.

The state police criminal investigation unit looked into the theft, but charges will not be filed because borough officials declined to prosecute.

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Lunden to Receive PA Wilds Award

Debbie Lunden will receive the Member of the Year Award during next week’s Pennsylvania Wilds awards dinner.

Lunden has been on the Pennsylvania Wilds planning team since it was established in 2005, and retired earlier this year, but is still a team partner and remains involved with the team.

Lunden served as McKean County Planning Director for 26 years, retiring in March.

Besides her work with the Pennsylvania Wilds, she also volunteers with the Kinzua Bridge Foundation.

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Busti Man Charged with Rape

A 27-year-old Busti, New York, man is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl last summer.

State police charged Michael Clark with rape following a lengthy investigation into the incident that happened in the Town of Kiantone.

Clark is jailed on $25,000 bail.

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State Police Investigating Forgery

Police are looking into a case of forgery that happened at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.

They say between December 21 and April 30 a woman, who they did not identify, forged a document with the name of 19-year-old William Schoonover of Bradford. No further information was released.

Troopers are continuing their investigation.

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Sex Offenders Charged for Not Registering

Two convicted sex offenders from Wellsville have been charged for not registering with state police.

28-year-old Timothy Lewis was convicted of rape for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2008.

55-year-old Richard Foster was convicted of sodomy for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old in May of 2000.

Both men are awaiting further court action.

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Port Allegany Man Facing Charges

A Port Allegany man is facing charges for hitting a woman early this morning.

Police say 21-year-old Steven Crabb Jr. was arguing with the 22-year-old woman on North Brooklynside Road in the borough when he pushed her and hit her in the arm.

Police say harassment charges are pending.

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Dead Body Found in Cattaraugus Creek

A dead body was found Tuesday in Cattaraugus County Creek in the Town of Perrysburg, and authorities believe it is a Gowanda woman who has been missing since December.

The body has been tentatively identified as 58-year-old Kimberly Millitello, who was last seen by her husband on December 22 in their home.

State police say a fisherman found the body, and then called Seneca Nation Marshals. Due to the location of the body, the state police SCUBA and aviation units were called to remove the body from the fast-moving creek.

The body has been taken to the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

NY State Police photo

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Ex-Bradford Man Charged with Sexual Assault

A former Bradford man is facing charges for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl he met online.

25-year-old Robert Magee, who now lives in Hinsdale, New York, met the girl on the social networking site in November and arranged a meeting, according to papers filed in District Judge Dominic Cercone’s office. Magee picked the girl up and took her to his South Center Street home, where he had sex with her.

He is charged with statutory sexual assault and indecent assault of a person younger than 16. He’s free on unsecured bail.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Local Reps to Introduce Measure
Supporting Conventional Oil, Gas Industries

HARRISBURG – Working to ensure the survival of the state’s conventional oil and gas industries, Reps. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) and Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) will soon introduce legislation requiring separate regulations for conventional and unconventional drilling operations.

“Conventional drilling is, without question, far different than drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and it simply makes no sense to apply the same standards to these operations,” Causer said. “Regulations being proposed because of Marcellus drilling could easily put the state’s smaller producers out of business, and that would be devastating to our rural areas where these businesses provide good, family-sustaining jobs.”

Rapp agreed. “The bureaucrats who write these regulations have demonstrated a serious lack of understanding about how shallow well drilling differs from drilling in the Marcellus, and that could have dire consequences for our local producers and the thousands of people they employ. Requiring separate regulations is a necessary step to ensure the future of the conventional oil and gas industries.”

The legislation the lawmakers plan to introduce would direct the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to separate the drilling, alteration, operation and plugging regulations for unconventional gas wells from those regulations applicable to conventional oil and gas wells in the Commonwealth.

“We are committed to ensuring the future success of our small oil and gas producers,” Gabler said. “By requiring separate sets of regulations, we can be sure both conventional and unconventional drillers continue to be held to the highest standards while not burdening the small shallow well drillers with regulatory requirements that are not necessary, feasible or affordable for their operations.”

Last fall, hundreds of oil and gas producers met at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville – the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry – to call attention to the threat the proposed regulations pose to the 150-year-old industry. During the event, which was organized by the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP), many spoke about how the regulations could increase their operating costs or decrease their production to the point they may have to shutter their operations.

The lawmakers expect the bill to be referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee once it is introduced.

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CARE for Children Honored

CARE for Children was honored for achieving the Seal of Excellence by successfully completing the Standards for Excellence® recertification program through the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) during a special recognition ceremony at PANO’s Annual Conference. Standards certification represents that CARE has demonstrated a deep commitment to organizational wellness and a high standard of accountability throughout their operations and governance.

Executive Director Tina M. Martin and Pediatric Therapy Services Director Ashley Carlson, MOT, OTR/L, accepted the certificate, where CARE was honored in a lunchtime ceremony along with five other Pennsylvania Community Benefit Organizations achieving the Seal of Excellence. Allen Kukovich, Chair of Smart Growth, served as Master of Ceremonies. Allen also served in the PA General Assembly for 27 years representing Westmoreland County. Ms. Martin served as the peer speaker during the luncheon at the conference, and delivered an address touting the continued relevance and universality of the Standards for Excellence as a means to “consistently and continually address organizational health and sustainability.”

Standards for Excellence® offers a robust program designed to help organizations put their values into action, providing a means of structuring work in ways that reflect and reinforce the values of ethical, accountable operations and governance, each and every day. Recent research shows that focus on a culture of ethics within an organization is a vital condition for achieving mission, and ultimately, achieving what is possible for our communities—the Standards provides an effective means to this end. The accreditation process included an evaluation by PANO staff and scrutiny by an anonymous jury of peers who reviewed the organization’s compliance with the Standards. For a full list of the over 50 Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations that are certified to display the Seal of Excellence, please visit: PA Standards for Excellence Certified Organizations

For more information contact Tish Mogan, Standards for Excellence Officer for PANO, at 717-236-8584 or The Standards for Excellence program, which just celebrated its 12th anniversary in Pennsylvania, was conceived by Maryland Nonprofits, and is known nationally through the Standards for Excellence Institute.

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ZZ Top Coming Back to Salamanca
Casino Summer Rush Lineup Announced

NIAGARA FALLS and SALAMANCA, N.Y. – The area’s best summer entertainment series keeps getting better. New additions to the all-star Summer Rush 2014 lineup for Seneca Casinos include an outdoor concert by ZZ Top with Jeff Beck at Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel on Labor Day weekend, Survivor at Seneca Allegany Events Center on Independence Day weekend, and Air Supply in August at Seneca Niagara Events Center. Two new shows – Scott Stapp: The Voice of Creed and Los Lobos – also come to the intimate Bear’s Den Showroom this summer. Finally, Seneca Casinos is already thinking ahead to fall with September bookings of country singer-songwriter Kellie Pickler and comedian Brian Regan.

ZZ Top with Jeff Beck to Perform Outdoors in Salamanca

During its 10 years of success, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel regularly hosted outdoor concerts until the opening of Seneca Allegany Events Center in March 2008. This summer, the spirit of the past returns in full force with an outdoor performance by ZZ Top with Jeff Beck on Friday, August 29 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and go on sale Monday, May 12 at noon. ZZ Top’s songs are ideally suited for celebrating summer, with classic rock anthems “Legs,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “La Grange” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” The famous bearded trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, including 18 Platinum and Gold records. In Salamanca, they will team with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jeff Beck, who was ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of all-time greatest guitarists.

Two 1980s Hit Bands Join the Summer Rush Lineup

Independence Day weekend will rock at Seneca Allegany Events Center with the addition of Survivor on Saturday, July 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at an affordably priced $15 and go on sale Friday, May 9 at noon. The group is best known for the No. 1 hit “Eye of the Tiger” in 1982, which was the theme song to the classic film Rocky III. They also produced the chart-topping hits “I Can’t Hold Back” and “The Search Is Over,” and wrote the song “Burning Heart” for the film Rocky IV. Last year, Survivor announced the reunion of both lead singers throughout the years, Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison, to allow fans to hear all of the band’s songs in true form during live shows.

On Friday, August 22 at 8 p.m., Seneca Niagara Events Center will be filled with romantic ballads as Air Supply takes the stage. Tickets start at $30 and go on sale Wednesday, May 14 at noon. The Australian soft rock duo of Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell penned Gold-certified hits in the early 1980s with “All Out of Love,” "The One That You Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” They achieved additional success at the No. 1 and No. 2 chart positions with the songs “Here I Am,” “Lost in Love,” “Every Woman in the World” and “Even the Nights Are Better.”

Two Grammy Award–Winning Acts Come to the Bear’s Den Showroom

The 440-seat Bear’s Den Showroom at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel will provide the perfect setting this summer for two intimate performances by Grammy Award–winning music acts. On Friday, June 27 at 8 p.m., Scott Stapp: The Voice of Creed comes to the venue, delivering some of the most popular hard rock songs of the 1990s and 2000s, including “With Arms Wide Open,” “Higher,” “My Sacrifice” and “What’s this Life For.” Tickets start at $45 and are on sale now.

On Friday, August 22 at 8 p.m., American Chicano band Los Lobos takes the stage for a high-energy, Mexican-infused performance. The band achieved its greatest success in 1987 with the soundtrack to the film La Bamba. The title track reached No. 1 on music charts worldwide, and additional commercial success followed with covers of the Ritchie Valens classics “Donna” and “Come On, Let’s Go.” Tickets start at $55 and go on sale Monday, June 2 at noon.

Blockbuster Entertainment Booked for September

The world-class entertainment won’t stop when summer ends, as Seneca Casinos delivers more blockbuster entertainment this September. On Sunday, Sept. 7, country star Kellie Pickler comes to Seneca Allegany Events Center for a 5 p.m. performance. Tickets start at $25 and go on sale Wednesday, May 21 at noon. Far removed from her days of catch-phrases such as “pick Pickler” during the fifth season of TV’s “American Idol,” the 27 year-old Pickler is now building a career as a singer-songwriter. Her first two albums soared to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and the songs “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder” and “Best Days of Your Life” all received industry awards. In 2013, she proved that her talents stretch beyond singing, as she won the 16th season of the hit reality-competition TV show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

Seneca Niagara Events Center will kick off fall entertainment with one of today’s most successful comedians, as Brian Regan comes to Niagara Falls as part of a 48-city tour of North America. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now. Regan first broke into stardom with an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and has since performed more than two dozen times on the show. Jerry Seinfeld calls Regan “one of my favorite, favorite stand-up comedians.” Regan is known for side-splitting materials on everyday topics, while maintaining a clean routine without profanity. He also recently earned a nomination for Best Club Comic in this year’s American Comedy Awards.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Petrowax Fire Ruled Accidental

The fire at International Waxes (Petrowax) on Sunday has been ruled accidental, but a monetary damage estimate has not been determined yet.

State Police Fire Marshal Greg Agosti says the explosion and resulting fire started in the filter house, which was significantly damaged. A smaller building was destroyed and five other buildings on the property now have moderate structural damage.

One employee was hurt in the explosion. He was treated for his injuries and then released. No emergency responders were hurt.

A team of five state police fire marshals and four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Pittsburgh completed the investigation and say there are no suspicious circumstances. Agosti adds that there is not a threat to the environment or area surrounding the facility as a result of the incident.

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Matthew's Parents Tell Their Story

Tune in to 1490 WESB at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to hear Tom & Susan tell their story.


There’s something about Matthew Whelan.

The now 8-year-old sprite from Bradford was born with spina bifida and although he has been in a wheelchair, he commanded the attention of those in any room he entered. He reached out to people and could make them smile.

“Matthew wanted people to see him for who he was inside despite his disability,” said his mother, Susan Whelan- Bruno. “Matthew understood what the most important thing in life is and that is people are here to spread love to one another and he knew that.”

And that was just what Matthew did, whether it was a trip to Dairy Queen, attending church or his involvement in midget football or the Boys Youth Basketball League.

“Matthew was full of so much energy. He absolutely loves people,” his father, Tom Whelan said. “He loved to play catch with a ball and had a really strong arm.

“He had so many friends I had no idea where he met or knew so many people. People had an instant attraction to him and it was because of his beautiful heart. I cherished any time I had with him. He had a beautiful smile and a great laugh. He was really funny and he said he had a lot of girlfriends ... He told everyone around him that he loved them every day, even people that he just met.”

And even though his world – as well as his family’s - changed forever last fall, he is still inspiring others.

In September, Matthew’s VP shunt, located in his brain, started to malfunction. A few weeks later, the boy who had been through so much already in his short life, suffered a stroke, which led to emergency surgery and the removal of part of his cerebellum, which controls a person’s coordination.

Since then, while his physical condition changed dramatically, “his love is still there,” Whelan said. “He cannot speak and only swallows occasionally. He has very limited movement of his arms and legs …”

He is fed formula through a feeding tube and is on a ventilator at night to help with his breathing. He has a tracheotomy that requires changing once per week. His condition requires intensive care. That has become overwhelming.

“Before, Matthew could hold his head up and help” when his mother was taking him in and out of his wheelchair. “Now, he is dead weight.”

“I am overwhelmed and don’t get much sleep,” Whelan-Bruno said. “The whole family (including three half siblings and a stepfather) have been affected. “It’s tough, but we do what we have to do.”

But much of what needs done is out of the family’s control. Neither parent’s household is equipped to handle the special care he needs now. His mother and stepfather, David Bruno, rent their house, so they cannot make any changes, such as a installing a wheelchair ramp or making the shower handicap accessible. And since Matthew’s parents live in different households, insurance will not pay for medical equipment for both.

“Hospital equipment is very expensive and we have had to share it and transfer it from her house to mine when he visits,” Whelan said. “It is too expensive to purchase the required medical equipment out of pocket. Frequent visits to the Children's Hospital and Children's Institute in Pittsburgh have been very costly for gas, food, and sometimes lodging.”

“I fight with the insurance company,” Whelan-Bruno said. “They used to compensate you for travel, now they don’t.”

And even though Whelan-Bruno had some help from medical assistance is cutting back on those too. She gets some breaks when he is at school at George G. Blaisdell Elementary School, but much of Matthew’s care has been left to his parents.

“They feel if the parent is home then the parent should take care of the child and be trained to cover all the medical needs,” she said.” I am certainly not experienced or qualified to handle when Matthew's oxygen levels decrease or needs continuous suctioning. Matthew is on the ventilator throughout the day depending on what kind of day he has had. Matthew is always on the ventilator at night.

Caring for Matthew is a “two-person job and it requires all-consuming care.”

But with all the financial struggles of trying to care for Matthew, perhaps the biggest struggle has been losing a big part of who Matthew is – his sense of humor and his capacity to love.

Whelan-Bruno misses her “buddy” – the little boy who would extend a short trip to Walmart into an hour long journey of meeting people and spreading love along the way.

“He’s quite a kid and has done a lot more than the average person before this happened,” she said. “He was happy all the time; I miss that. He’s my buddy. I miss talking to him.”

“As his father I have struggled daily with the emotional aspect. I miss his laugh and him telling me he loves me. It is absolutely heartbreaking,” Whelan said. “God has kept him alive to spread love. Matthew has done that better than anyone I have ever met.”

But for now, the family is left to wait and see how much of Matthew comes back into their lives.

“I don't think he will get completely back to where he was. I pray every day that he heals and isn't suffering. I pray for a miracle. I know that it’s a miracle that he is still alive but would love to see him back.”

“With a traumatic brain injury, we just wait and see,” Whelan-Bruno said. “We keep stimulating him and hope for the best.”

But even if they get just one small thing back, it would mean the world to this family.

“We want his beautiful smile back,” Whelan said.

Photo courtesy of Susan Whelan-Bruno

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