April 21st, 2010
08:12 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Helen Ruhl

The 4th Infantry Division soldier on Wednesday will receive the Bronze Star Medal with Valor at Fort Carson, Colorado.

A press representative at Fort Carson told CNN that Cpl. Ruhl, a combat medic from Vero Beach, Florida, served in eastern Afghanistan. On the evening of September 24, 2009, her convoy was attacked.

"Wounded, and disregarding her own safety, Ruhl applied tourniquets to an injured comrade, examined her team, and supervised the application of life-saving medical treatment while laying down suppressive fire."

Ruhl was evacuated to the U.S. and recovered during several months at Brooke Army Medical Hospital at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

Fort Carson Public Affairs: Fort Carson Soldier receives Bronze Star

Dorothy Gilliam

The Washington Press Club Foundation is scheduled to hold its 66th Annual Congressional Dinner on Wednesday and will present the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award to Gilliam, the first black woman hired as a full-time reporter at The Washington Post.

According to the website of Missouri's Lincoln University, Gilliam graduated from the school in 1957, worked for Jet and Ebony magazines, and then got her master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She joined the Washington Post in 1961, and in 1979 began writing her popular column covering education, politics, race and her personal experiences.

In a 1993 interview she said, "The '80s were real difficult times. You had Ronald Reagan in the White House. You had the country turning from the '60s and the '70s into a very conservative mode by the '80s. I had a lot of strong opinions, and I know that sometimes I would feel that people would write notes in my computer, taking issue with certain things - not editors, but just other reporters. Sometimes they would sign them, occasionally they wouldn't, but most of the time they would. ... I often got accused of being a black racist and just a whole bunch of stuff. You see, I think part of it is that, in those days, first of all, there weren't that many women writing columns. There weren't that many blacks writing columns."

Lincoln University: Distinguished alumni members

Suzanne Porcelli

New York's Gambino crime family might have hit a new low by allegedly introducing underage prostitution into its operations, authorities say, but just as shocking to some was the appearance of a female among the list of defendants in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Porcelli, 43, was the only female among 14 reputed Gambino crime family members and associates indicted on charges including racketeering, murder, sex trafficking of a minor, extortion and drug trafficking. Thirteen defendants, including Porcelli, entered not guilty pleas on Tuesday, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

"It's extremely rare to grab up a woman in an organized crime case because it's a male-oriented criminal society," said FBI special agent Richard Holko. "It's certainly unusual, but as you can see in the indictment, she allegedly committed a serious crime and will face those charges."

Fifteen FBI agents showed up at the door of the single mother's home in Brooklyn to arrest her at 6 a.m. Tuesday, said her lawyer, Vincent Romano. She was released on bond. Porcelli is charged with four counts in an alleged sex trafficking ring involving underage girls.

CNN: Woman, children make rare appearance in Gambino indictment

CNN: 14 alleged members of Gambino crime family charged

Soren Jespersen

As a college student, the longtime backpacker and hiker learned a lesson about the environment the hard way. Jespersen spent the summer of 2001 walking a 2,200-mile route that he devised himself through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.

He told CNN on Tuesday that he thought he had all the answers to solving environmental problems. Then he began meeting farmers, ranchers and hunters along his journey and realized they knew the most about the land and cared the most about it.

Today, as the Northwest Colorado wildlands coordinator for the Wilderness Society, Jesperson, 32, works with communities, land management agencies, and gas and oil companies to strike a balance between energy development and public lands.

On Thursday, the 40th Earth Day, Jespersen plans to be in Brown's Park, Colorado, a remote valley on the Wyoming-Utah border, with a group of local volunteers. They'll be planting cottonwood trees on the flood plain of the Green River.

"It's a national wildlife refuge and people here care for it deeply," he said. "Butch Cassidy once hid out there. Because of changes to the flow of the Green River - it's controlled by a dam now - the plains no longer flood the way they used to, so we plant these trees that are so important to birds and wildlife. We go back each year to see how the trees progress. So there'll be cottonwood there rather than sagebrush."

The Wilderness Society website

Choice Humanitarian: CHOICE trekker finds new meaning to vacation

Samuel Clemens

One of the country's greatest novelists and humorists, known to his readers by the pen name Mark Twain, died on this date in 1910 at the age of 74.

According to The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, by 1857, after work on East Coast newspapers, Clemens began a new career as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. In 1861, the Civil War caused all traffic along the river to halt, and Clemens joined a volunteer Confederate unit called the Marion Rangers. He quit after just two weeks.

In his most famous work from 1884, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Clemens satirized the institution of slavery, criticized the failures of Reconstruction and described the continuing poor treatment of African-Americans.

Clemens wrote, "I think we never become really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead - and not then until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead, and they would be honest so much earlier."

Mark Twain House and Museum: Biography

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. confused

    The Army has been awarding Bronze Stars like there's no tomorrow for a while now. It's a shame that Cpl Ruhl was not awarded a higher medal. Had she been a man, it would have been different. She deserves more than a Bronze Star with Valor. The Army has done this sort of thing, famously, in the past. Glad to see they have learned from their mistakes.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ohio

    Helen Ruhl....Hooah!

    April 21, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. JEFF BISHOP

    Robert, I agree. I have read very similar award citations for teh Silver Star which this young lady obviously deserved.

    Semper Fi Spc Ruhl and God Bless you for your outstanding service to our country.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Doug

    Great job to CPL Ruhl!

    CNN, it's a Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor not Bronze Star with Valor.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. william robb

    Helen is a true Hero. I'm guessing there are several soldiers in her squad that are extremely thankful she was there for them.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. AGuest9

    Thank you, Helen Ruhl!

    April 21, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Russ Kennedy

    She is my hero.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. tom kyte

    I salute you Ms. Ruhl. Your efforts are another example of what makes America great. I wish you the best in your future. Thank you for serving wth such dignity and valor.

    April 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert Jones

    Well deserved medal. Helen, I salute you. Hope you are fully recovered.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Patty Ising

    God bless this freedom fighter and war hero! Helen Ruhl rocks! She desefves the Medal of Honor! Come on–give her what is due!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fred Carr

    Fantastic service, Cpl. Rubin, and thanks to all of her supporters who contributed to this blog. A true warrior doesn't get hung up on medals or fruit salad on the chest. If they receive recognition, fine. If not, fine as well. Because those around thw Warrior will alwys remember the selfless sacrifice.I, too, think she deserves more. At least a Silver Star.

    Semper Fi,
    USMC Grunt

    April 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jared

    Combat Medic?

    Navy Corpsman are better! Hoorah

    April 29, 2010 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. samuel stokes

    I want to thank you for saving those lives and your own during a fire fight, You and those like you who give sacrificialy without any hesitation are the (REAL) hero in this day and time. YOU ARE A REAL HERO and I salute you. GOD bless you and all our soldiers every where.
    Samuel David Stokes
    517 First Sreet
    Delta LA. 71233

    May 5, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Helen L. Ruhl

    Thank you for all your kind words, but I don't think I deserve an award for doing my job. I didn't do anything except what was expected of me from my team, and asked of me by their families. Again, thank you for the kind words, but my Combat Medical Badge means more to me than the BSMV. (no disrespect intended to any other recieptiants of this award, jjust my feelings)

    September 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
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