Hailey City Officials Explain The Reason For Canceling The Bowe Is Back Event


By KMVT News

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV )

There has been a wide array of emotions for the city of Hailey since news of Bowe Bergdahl's release on Saturday.

A Bowe is Back welcome home celebration scheduled for June 28th quickly became the target of criticism and backlash.

City administrator of Hailey Heather Dawson asserts there were, “hundreds of emails coming into the city each day and 50 to 60 callers most of the callers were asking us to cancel the event.”

Event organizers also feared that Hop Porter park wouldn't be able to hold the thousands of attendees expected.

Chief of Police Jeff Gunter adds the event, “really stirred up a lot of people and we had groups saying they were going to bring 2,000 people to the event and the venue really couldn't handle that much people.”

Throughout Bowe’s captivity, residents in Hailey displayed yellow ribbons as a sign of hope, and now support. But for one resident, Dani Stern, they always had special significance.

Stern explains, “I was diagnosed with stage four cancer just a few weeks after he was captured. It was very surreal thinking I’m not going to see him come home, being told I didn’t have a lot of time left. I can't believe I’m going to be here when we comes home and I feel like maybe I won my battle too.”

But Stern understands why the event had to be canceled.

She adds, “we want him to heal and as overwhelmed as our town will be, I assume he will be as well. I’m glad he will be able to quietly get back into his home.”

Quiet is something city officials look forward to as well.
Gunter notes, “things are starting to simmer down quite a bit so I hope it continues to go that way.”

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