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Owen teen touched by war story organizes benefit

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By Molly Haines

People across the United States are blowing their whistles for peace in Congo and soon the message will be brought to Owen County.

Hannah Strohmeier, a 14-year-old freshman at Owen County High School, became involved in the campaign for peace in Congo this summer when she learned about Falling Whistles.

The campaign was originally started as a journal about young boys in Congo who are sent to the world’s largest raging war with only a whistle for a weapon.

“When I found out about Falling Whistles, I just wanted to help out,” Strohmeier said. “They’re taking the campaign across the United States and I thought, ‘why couldn’t they come here?.’”

After reading the story, Strohmeier knew she wanted to do more.

“It just really hurt me for some reason,” Strohmeier said. “It broke my heart. I ordered a whistle and when I got it, I wanted to do more.”

The Falling Whistles campaign will come to Owen County Tuesday as a benefit concert held at the Owen County Fairgrounds exhibit building.

“They’ll be here from 5 to 10 p.m.,” Strohmeier said. “All the money raised will go toward Falling Whistles.”

Proceeds raised by Falling Whistles goes to rehabilitate and advocate for war-affected children in Congo.

Strohmeier said the entry fee to the benefit is $3 and Snappy Tomato Pizza will be on hand to provide food. Music will be provided by several local and regional bands.

Strohmeier has had help organizing the benefit from her friend Kendall McDonald and Dustin Ellis, who has booked all of the bands who will play during the night.

“I was really afraid people wouldn’t take me seriously because of my age,” Strohmeier said. “But I think everyone realizes that this is important to me and I’m hoping it will turn out well.”

Strohmeier said she would encourage everyone to come out and support the Falling Whistles cause.

“It’s a really worthy organization,” Strohmeier said. “The story really struck my friends too and I think once people hear it they will really appreciate the life we have here in America and want to help others who don’t have the things we have.”

Strohmeier said Falling Whistle’s founder will be at the benefit to give a speech.

For more information on the Falling Whistle’s campaign visit www.fallingwhistles.com