***image1***Spanning the globe to provide the constant variety of sports that so many people desire, one veteran radio talk broadcaster went out of his way to reach servicemembers.
Popular sports media persona Ron Barr brought his daily radio show to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for two days of broadcasting.
“We had a chance to go to Afghanistan and do the show, but I said I wouldn’t go unless they let me come here first,” Barr said. “Being with the men and women who are defending our freedom is such an honor and I think my guests who appear on our shows feel the same way.”
Barr spent much of the two days in Landstuhl canvassing various wings of the hospital to deliver sports apparel donated by Nike, the NFL and other corporations.
“Apparel of all kinds is a good thing for a trip like this,” Barr said. “When the Soldiers come straight out of the field, they often have nothing to wear besides a hospital gown or what they came in with.”
He talked real sports with staff members and injured Soldiers, bringing smiles to weary faces and talking the international language of sports.
“That’s exactly what it is, an international language that most everyone understands,” Barr said. “It’s something that a lot of people care about, along with whatever else it is that they are doing in their lives.”
The first show was kicked off by an extended conversation with American football legend Jim Brown, then the extended list of luminaries allowed local patients and Soldiers to temporarily break away from the wartime grind.
“Any time you get to talk to someone who is more than just a football player or a great running back, like Jim Brown is, you really sort of step back,” said Army Master Sgt. Michael Taylor, a co-host during one of the segments with Barr. “Jim Brown has always been pure class and such a model public figure. All of the phone guests were such big public figures, but at the same time down to earth.”
Former quarterbacks Steve Young and Roger Staubach, both Super Bowl veterans and NFL Hall of Fame members, offered commentary and fielded questions during the two-hour segments.
The tiny room where the remote broadcasts took place was filled with Soldiers and others who came and went while the shows unfolded.
Army 1st. Lt. Derek Martin, injured by a grenade blast and awaiting transfer back to the United States, was another of Barr’s co-hosts. He and Barr talked for about a half-hour with Atlanta Braves outfielder Brian Jordan on subjects ranging from Barry Bonds’ home runs to the variables which endear athletes to so many everyday people across the globe.
“These people that came on the show all seemed to have a deep and sincere appreciation for the military,” Lieutenant Martin said. “You really appreciate hearing it come from their mouths, though.”
Golfer Phil Mickelson, quarterback Eli Manning, baseballer Barry Zito, and USC Trojans coach Pete Carroll also offered perspective during Barr’s broadcasts.
A veteran of more than 30 years of sports media, including 30 Super Bowls and numerous other championship events, Barr was to rendezvous with television personality Randy Cross on Wednesday in London before both would fly south to Afghanistan for several more broadcasts there.
“I was in Iraq two years ago, and it really meant a lot for me to be able to do our show from there,” Barr said. “Seeing the men and women actually on the battlefronts and as they come to work at Landstuhl and other German bases is motivational. I never want to take what they do for granted.”