Catasauqua Press

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Photo by CAVAN SMITHBud Cole, right, accepts 2016 Keystone Press Award for his “Bud’s View” columns from Paul Willistein, Focus section editor, left. Photo by CAVAN SMITHBud Cole, right, accepts 2016 Keystone Press Award for his “Bud’s View” columns from Paul Willistein, Focus section editor, left.

Gofundme begun for Bud Cole’s recovery

Friday, July 1, 2016 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

Bud Cole, long-time columnist for the Lehigh Valley Press whose award-winning “Bud’s View” appears in the Focus section, is grateful for the friends and relatives who’ve helped him in his recovery.

Chief among these has been Sandy L. Burkart, PT, OCS, PhD, a fraternity brother at East Stroudsburg University and retired West Virginia University Professor and Chairman of Physical Therapy.

Burkart has spearheaded a gofundme campaign to help retrofit the Lehigh Township house where Bud Cole lives with his wife, Bev.

“What I am trying to convince him is that he can return to writing and he can return to nature. We just have to do some adaptations,” says Burkart in a phone interview.

“He’s walking well now. His sense of humor is still good, even though his jokes are still bad,” Burkart quips.

This year, Cole received his second Keystone Press Award, taking Second Place, Sports-Outdoor Column, Division VII, for “Bud’s View,” with three representative columns from 2015 submitted for the annual Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation contest. The June 29 “Bud’s View” on this page is his first since his column, July 15, 2015. The next day, Cole entered the hospital.

“They’re such a lovely couple,” Burkhart says of the Coles. “They’ve gone through hell and back. But he’s on his way back.”

Cole, Burkart and Fred Masenheimer, Publisher, Times News, LLC, which includes The Press newspapers, graduated from East Stroudsburg University where they were Sigma PI fraternity brothers. They’ve been friends ever since.

Cole, a retired Northampton Area School District teacher (1966-99), taught 4th, 5th and 6th grades at Washington, Wolf and George Wolf elementary schools. He developed an outdoor summer camp that has educated participants about canoing, archery, fishing, fly-tying, astronomy, weather, maple-sugaring, and plant and wildlife studies. Two of Bud’s joys are fishing and the tracking and tagging of the black bear population of Pennsylvania.

Cole was named Environmental Educator of the Year by the Northampton County Conservation District. In 1999, he was nominated for the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Educator of the Year.

Cole’s interest in motivating children to experience the many wonders of the natural environment inspired him to write such books as “The Mystery of Little Bear,” a light-hearted tale of a young boy who discovers a lost puppy that is cleverly interwoven with facts about the many marvels of the wild. Little Bear was the name of one of Bud’s dogs because he resembled a bear cub.

In addition to “Bud’s View” in The Press newspapers and web sites, Cole’s photos and articles have been in Pennsylvania Magazine, Pennsylvania Game News, The Boater and Angler. He is a graduate of the American Wilderness Leadership School, Jackson, Wyo.

Cole participated in organizing a ski school for amputee veterans and served as a trip escort for 23 years on explorations of the environment in New England, Florida, the western United States and Europe.

Burkart is advising the Coles to cope with Bud’s recovery, providing them with a “Dos and “Don’ts” list for his care. Burkart has also prepared a list of items to be purchased to aid Bud.

“Since I’m a physical therapist, I can answer a lot of their questions,” Burkart says.

Burkart and his wife, Barbara, reside in Boca Raton, Fla. He has been a Rotarian since 1990 and has been involved in Rotary Youth Exchanges, having hosted 28 youth and adult international exchanges.

Burkart has participated in numerous Rotary International Rotary Service projects, including a water project in Guatemala, the purchase of pediatric surgery instruments for St. Anne’s Hospital in Zimbabwe, the building of a school in Swaziland, the funding of an educational media center in a Chinese orphanage, and raising college tuition for a special needs child from Guatemala.

Coincidentally, Burkhart and Cole were both admitted to the hospital July 16, 2015 (though for reasons unrelated). Upon his discharge, Burkart has followed Bud’s long journey in the ICU. He has prayed incessantly for Bud’s recovery.

“Bud will require continuous care for several months and will need many support services and specialized equipment to assist in his recovery,” says Burkart. “The goal is to improve the quality of their lives, regain Bud’s total independence and mobility and have him continue to write about and explore nature.

“My wife and I and friends will purchase and train a new dog for them. The litter will be born in the fall. The breeder will house-break the pup and help with the training.”

Burkart sees a bigger picture in Bud Cole’s recovery:

“He can become a community speaker, combining what happened to him and his recovery into inspirational story that will encourage others with difficult problems to move forward in life.”

Cole entered the hospital last summer for an inguinal hernia repair. After what was to be a routine procedure, he developed a blood infection that resulted in a prolonged stay in the ICU and was life-threatening.

During his time in the ICU, Bud’s wife, Bev, sustained two losses: their beloved cat, Charcole, and the family dog, Blue, who had spent time with Bud in the ICU and passed away after a short bout with cancer.

Notes Burkart, “Deeply saddened by her husband’s worsened condition coupled with the recent losses of their pets, Bev recalled being so lonely without her three boys by her side.

“With Bev by his side; the support of many friends, teaching colleagues and fraternity brothers; and divine intervention, Bud woke up from a coma and began his road to a slow, yet progressive recovery, demonstrating his steadfast will to live and serve.

“Three weeks into his rehabilitation, he relearned how to walk and to use his paralyzed right arm.

“Reminiscent of the good old days, Bud walks, talks, smiles and laughs, recalls memories (and bad jokes!) and is very motivated to recover.”

Continues Burkart, “This loving couple is now in need of our support as Buddy continues his rehabilitation and is the reason we have launched the gofundme account.

“In addition to making home modifications necessary to aid in Bud’s recovery (i.e., ramps, doorway access, bathroom accessibility, seated stair-climber unit, computerized home security and video system, seated all-terrain scooter and car lift, fencing for a dog run, and a computer, monitor, printer, software and scanner), we are also seeking to provide in-house home services.”

A gofundme account, gofundme.com/bud-cole, has been established by Burkart with the Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunrise, Fla., to raise funds for Bud Cole’s rehabilitation.

The account is administered by Ira Herschbein, CPA, treasurer of the Rotary Club Foundation. He will distribute the monies directly to Bud and Bev Cole. This will allow donations to be tax-deductible.

Gofundme has an 8 percent ($8 per $100) administrative fee that will be covered by a secondary donation to Bud and Bev so that 100 percent of a donation goes to them.

Questions or information:: sburkart@bellsouth.net, or call Burkhart at 561-702-8286