Good sport of Pats fame lends hand for Haitian aid.

Byline: Jay Gearan

GARDNER – Forward in Health, a nonprofit organization whose

mission is to improve the health conditions and dignity of the

people of Fonde Fred, Haiti, got a big boost of donations from the

appearance of former New England Patriots star Troy Brown recently

at a local store.

Hundreds of fans streamed in lines that extended inside, outside

and around the corner of Anthony’s Liquor Mart at Pearson

Boulevard.

Football fans were able to get an

autograph, a handshake and an autographed photo from Brown.

In addition, Patriots cheerleader Siobhan O’Keefe was at the

store, signing autographs and also selling the New England Patriots

Cheerleader Calendar. Proceeds from T-shirt and key ring sales went

to Forward in Health.

So big was the crowd that local police were hired to help direct

traffic into and out of the store’s parking lot.

Working with Dr. John Mulqueen, the founder of Forward in

Health, Jim Kraskouskas, owner of Anthony’s Liquor Mart, arranged

for Brown’sappearance in conjunction with Narragansett Brewing

Co.

Also at Brown’s fundraiser appearance, two new Forward in Health

wine labels were introduced for sale at Anthony’s Liquor Mart, a

Sauvignon Blanc and a Malbec. Profits from sales of the wines went

to Forward in Health.

As part of the fundraising day at the store, several local

cheerleading squads, including high school and Pop Warner groups,

were invited and got a chance to have their photos taken with the

Patriots cheerleader.

Brown, who is the

College

Football Hall of Fame, is a former

star cornerback with the Patriots. He played his entire 15-year

career with New England, was on three Super Bowl championship teams

and retiredas the franchise leader in career receptions.

Many fans who lined up for Brown’s autograph recalled perhaps

the player’s finest moment on the gridiron during the 2006 AFC

DivisionalPlayoff game when Brown stripped away a fumble from a San

Diego player, triggering the Patriots’ late-game rally and eventual

comeback victory.

“We were pleased to help Dr. Mulqueen and his great

organization, Forward in Health,” Kraskouskas said.

On its website, forwardinhealth.org, Dr. Mulqueen explained the

recent work of his organization:

“April 2010 found the third medical team heading off to Haiti

since the earthquake, representing Forward In Health. The team

spent one week in the Les Cayes region of Haiti, providing general

medical careto children and adults. In addition to the general

medical care offered, a surgical team made up of nurses, orthopedic

and OB-GYN doctorsworked at the hospital in Les Cayes, performing

much-needed surgeries. This overwhelming need for surgeries

encountered during this trip is what lead us to include a surgical

wing to our construction plans.

“Since the earthquake, the medical need in Haiti has increased

beyond our worst nightmare. Although the need for acute emergency

care has passed, the more immediate care is not only for the crush

injuriesand amputations but also for the emotional toll this trauma

has taken on the Haitian children and adults with many of them

losing their entire families. These issues in addition to what was

already a lack of even basic medical care, will be the driving

force behind our work for many years to come. Forward In Health was

working in Haiti beforethe earthquake, providing emergency care

within one week of the tragedy, and we will be providing life

saving care for years to come.”

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: JAY GEARAN

CUTLINE: From left, Patriots cheerleader Siobhan O’Keefe, Jim

Kraskouskas of Anthony’s Liquor Mart and former Patriots cornerback

Troy Brown.