Upstate News

February 22, 2007
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

University Hospital nurse creates fund to honor brother killed in Iraq

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Fayetteville resident Karyn Plante, a nurse with University Hospital’s vascular access team, has created a fund in memory of her brother, Air Force Tech Sgt. Timothy Weiner, who was killed in Iraq last month.

Plante said her brother was haunted by the sight of children disfigured by the ravages of war that is why she established the Sgt. Timothy Weiner Fund to support the Central New York Cleft and Craniofacial Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The center provides surgery and follow-up care for infants and children with cleft palate and other head and facial anomalies. It treats more than 300 children annually.

“Tim responded to a call that there was a large IED [improvised explosive device] outside of a village,” Plante said. “When the soldiers arrived, the decision was made to detonate the IED, and they proceeded to evacuate the surrounding area. Afterward, they found a five-year-old girl who had hidden. Her face was wounded badly. Tim felt responsible and was devastated.”

Plante said her brother spoke often about the war, but this story of the little girl wounded by the explosive was the one that had the most profound effect on him. “I know that helping children in this way, would have made him most proud, and it is a fitting way to honor him, as well,” Plante said.

Weiner, 35, of Rochester, was killed in January along with two fellow airmen while trying to diffuse explosives in a vehicle near Baghdad. A bomb expert, Weiner was concluding his second tour of duty in Iraq and was scheduled to return to the United States at the end of January. While on duty, Weiner responded to nearly 200 calls involving IEDs and is credited with saving many hundreds of lives.

Individuals interested in honoring Weiner can make contributions to the Sgt. Timothy Weiner Fund in care of the Upstate Medical University Foundation, 750 E. Adams St., Syracuse, N.Y. To make a contribution using Visa or MasterCard, please call the Foundation at 315-464-4416.

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