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Magician Casts His Spell on Wounded Troops in Texas

By Nelia Schrum
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Dec. 2, 2005 – International man of mystery, David Blaine, stopped by Brooke Army Medical Center here Nov. 22 to perform "street magic" for the wounded warriors recovering at the hospital.

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Magician David Blaine performs "street magic" Nov. 22 for the patients and staff at Brooke Army Medical Center's Amputee Care Center. Photo by Nelia Schrum

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Blaine performed three shows at the center - in the Amputee Care Center, the Burn Center and the hospital auditorium - for different groups of patients.

Well known for his on-the-spot magic tricks, Blaine thrilled his BAMC audience with his street-style magic as he moved about the rooms performing sleight of hand and card tricks for the patients.

Internationally famous for changing the face of magic, Blaine's magic has been featured on ABC with 15 million viewers tuning in.

Blaine is often called the "Ice Guy" - after freezing himself in a solid block of ice for three days in 2000. One center patient from New York, Marine Cpl. Merlin German, remembered watching Blaine as he emerged from the ice block in Times Square. Now recovering from burns sustained in the global war on terrorism, German was pleased Blaine took the time to come see the wounded.

"He was very inspiring to me," German said, adding that Blaine, who invited him and his parents to a show in New York after he recovers, now sees him as a friend.

After his Nov. 22 shows, Blaine said he was so moved by the wounded troops that he returned Nov. 23 and 25 to personally visit with them.

Sgt. Kevin Downs was one patient who received a personal visit from Blaine as a special birthday gift.

"I was very surprised and appreciative of David Blaine's visit to support our wounded soldiers," said Downs. "I will always remember my 21st birthday because David and everyone else in the room sang 'Happy Birthday' to me."

Blaine, who has performed on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and for presidents, picked up a new fan base with his visit to Brooke.

(Nelia Schrum works at Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office.)

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