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Eagle released at Gibson ceremony
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Marge Gibson cradled the adult male eagle in her arms, its fierce look replaced by what almost seemed to be an air of contentment.

She moved away from the assembled onlookers to a bit of a clearing, gently murmured, “Are you ready?” and with one fluid gesture, returned the bird to freedom.

It was a scene Gibson has done dozenshundredsof times for families grieving a loss, figuratively sending a loved one's spirits aloft in a strangely comforting gesture to those facing a new reality.

But this eventon Wednesday at Bohemian National Cemetery in Nevahad a special resonance. Gibson released the raptor in memory of her husband, Don. He was being interred a few feet away after succumbing to cancer on Friday at his home on the grounds of the internationally-renowned Raptor Education Group Inc.

“There was no way I was going to have anyone else do it,” Gibson, determined although fraught with grief over the loss of her helpmate of over five decades, said.

According to Audrey Gossett, director of rehabilitation at REGI, the adult male eagle, petite at 3 1/2 pounds, was brought into REGI in spring suffering from lead poisoning. It's a common and often fatal malady, picked up through ingestion of lead shotgun pellets, ammunition or fishing sinkers. If consumed, a fragment of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle.

In this instance, the eagle was found in a field in the Shawano area, weak and unable to fly, and the person who saw it was concerned and knowledgeable enough to contact REGI staff.

“He needed help,” Gossett said.

What followed was months of treatment, including injections that gradually flushed the lead from the bird's body. That was followed by hours of time in REGI's one-of-a-kind flight facility, allowing the weakened bird to regain his “wings” so to speak.

“Marge has been noticing the bird has been almost ready to go for a few weeks,” Gossett said. “He's been flying well in the flight enclosure.”

It's the stuff REGI, with the Gibsons in leadership roles, has become very, very good at.

As the bird strengthened, Don Gibson was weakening, coming to a close of a eminently successful life as a physician, adventurer, environmentalist, husband, and father. He went into hospice five weeks prior to his death, which happened at home.

The paths of the eagle, and REGI's patriarch, crossed for a final time on Wednesday.

On eagle's wings.
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Marge Gibson sends a rehabilitated bald eagle aloft at Bohemian National Cemetery in Neva on Wednesday, in memory of her husband Don. The couple's daughter, Sarah Petroskey is at right.

Eagle released at Gibson ceremony
space
Marge Gibson cradled the adult male eagle in her arms, its fierce look replaced by what almost seemed to be an air of contentment.

She moved away from the assembled onlookers to a bit of a clearing, gently murmured, “Are you ready?” and with one fluid gesture, returned the bird to freedom.

It was a scene Gibson has done dozenshundredsof times for families grieving a loss, figuratively sending a loved one's spirits aloft in a strangely comforting gesture to those facing a new reality.

But this eventon Wednesday at Bohemian National Cemetery in Nevahad a special resonance. Gibson released the raptor in memory of her husband, Don. He was being interred a few feet away after succumbing to cancer on Friday at his home on the grounds of the internationally-renowned Raptor Education Group Inc.

“There was no way I was going to have anyone else do it,” Gibson, determined although fraught with grief over the loss of her helpmate of over five decades, said.

According to Audrey Gossett, director of rehabilitation at REGI, the adult male eagle, petite at 3 1/2 pounds, was brought into REGI in spring suffering from lead poisoning. It's a common and often fatal malady, picked up through ingestion of lead shotgun pellets, ammunition or fishing sinkers. If consumed, a fragment of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle.

In this instance, the eagle was found in a field in the Shawano area, weak and unable to fly, and the person who saw it was concerned and knowledgeable enough to contact REGI staff.

“He needed help,” Gossett said.

What followed was months of treatment, including injections that gradually flushed the lead from the bird's body. That was followed by hours of time in REGI's one-of-a-kind flight facility, allowing the weakened bird to regain his “wings” so to speak.

“Marge has been noticing the bird has been almost ready to go for a few weeks,” Gossett said. “He's been flying well in the flight enclosure.”

It's the stuff REGI, with the Gibsons in leadership roles, has become very, very good at.

As the bird strengthened, Don Gibson was weakening, coming to a close of a eminently successful life as a physician, adventurer, environmentalist, husband, and father. He went into hospice five weeks prior to his death, which happened at home.

The paths of the eagle, and REGI's patriarch, crossed for a final time on Wednesday.

On eagle's wings.
space

Marge Gibson sends a rehabilitated bald eagle aloft at Bohemian National Cemetery in Neva on Wednesday, in memory of her husband Don. The couple's daughter, Sarah Petroskey is at right.
2019
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Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
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