Gramercy Park Block Association
A Look Back in History

GPBA's Neighbors Helping Neighbors:

Support for Troops Serving in Afghanistan and Iraq

First Lt. Nicholas Cohen, son of Arlene Harrison
At the beginning of the United States' engagement in the wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), GPBA President Arlene Harrison's son Nicholas Cohen, a former First  Lieutenant , US Army Ranger and Infantry Officer with the 82nd Airborne Division, launched initiatives with the support of GPBA's Neighbors Helping Neighbors to support and honor our troops.  

Among Cohen's projects were:  

Honor the Fallen - a  memorial featuring placards with photos and brief bios of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, which went on a nationwide tour.

Bryn Mawr College (BMC) Pen Pal and Care Package Project   - in partnership with BMC, sent "countless packages and over 2,000 letters of support" to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Honor the Fallen Memorial 


Description of Honor the Fallen Memorial by Nicholas Cohen

"The display is intended to honor those Americans who have died while serving our country. This memorial reminds us of the great loss in human life this country has sustained. We as Americans owe it to the men and women who serve to remain aware of the consequences of our decision to use military force. We owe it to our troops to reflect on what we are doing as a nation every day that we are engaged in military combat."



The Honor the Fallen Memorial 

Nicholas Cohen and his mother Arlene Harrison at the Honor the Fallen exhibit in Union Square

Photos of 1,000 dead U.S. soldiers laid out in NYC - San Diego Tribune 9/10/04

Vet creates moving GI memorial - New York Post 9/11/04   

Local Veteran Honors Fallen Soldiers - Town & Village 9/16/04  
Honor the Fallen - Union Square Park - 9/17/04, 9/24/04, 10/29/04

Honor the Fallen - Columbia University - Veterans Day 11/11/04

On Veteran's Day, Honoring the Dead - Columbia Spectator 11/12/04

The numbers have names: Facing the truth about war - The Village Voice 11/24/04

Honor the Fallen memorial on display at Union Square - Town & Village 11/25/04
Cops visit Union Sq. exhibit honoring fallen U.S. soldiers -  Town & Village 12/2/04

"The Fallen" honored on Christmas Day - Town & Village 12/30/04 


Nicholas Cohen Forms Partnership between GPBA's Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Bryn Mawr College's

Pen Pal and Care Package Project   

In partnership with BMC, "countless packages and over 2,000 letters support" were sent to soldiers in Afghanistan


Click here to read more about the Pen Pal project:

BMC Pen Pal Project

Post-bac brings realities of war to Marwters and moral support to troops oversees through letter-writing campaign - Bi-College News 3/4/03

Gramercy soldier's letters of support - Town & Village 3/27/03
Honoring America's heroes - Town & Village  4/3/03 

Penpal program brings soldiers a little love from home - Town & Village 4/3/03

Pen pal project gathers steam in Gramercy Park - Town & Village 4/17/03

Letter to the editor: Thanks for supporting soldiers - Town & Village 4/17/03

Troop care packages - Town & Village 4/10/03

Residents remember America's heroes - Town & Village 5/1/03 

As a result of Cohen's efforts, the Gramercy Park community became more aware of the need to support our troops. 

GPBA's Neighbors Helping Neighbors then became involved in the following efforts:

Operation Gratitude 
Lifted troops' morale by sending individually addressed care packages.


Wounded Warrior Project

Provided our wounded soldiers with backpacks filled with essential items when they were brought to our military hospitals overseas.



Serving Those Who Serve

Provided home modifications at no cost for severely wounded soldiers, improving their quality of life and helping their families to care for them.

Rebuilding Together volunteers rebuilding veterans' homes in Springfield Massachusetts.
About Dr. Nicholas Cohen:
Following Cohen's service in the military, he attended NYU medical school, where he served as class president. He is currently an MD in Family Medicine and Community Health at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio. Below is a description by a colleague of Cohen's, about his work for the underserved:

"Nick is starting his fifth year at UH Case Medical Center. In 2012, he received the patient care award for compassion. Last year he single-handedly developed and implemented an innovative patient care program called  Health Coaches , in which he used pre-med volunteers to set goals and to be a support system for patients.

As a member of the Quality and Patient Care Experience Department, Nick developed a groundbreaking patient Super Utilizer Program which helps patients take responsibility for their health care by using volunteers, medical students and others for support. He is delivering excellent patient care to this underserved population who need extra support to meet their health care goals. Nick is a beacon of innovative and beneficial use of health care services. His work is helping many and we are so proud of him."

Throughout his military and medical careers, Dr. Cohen has been recognized, and has earned many honors and awards.

More Honor the Fallen photos

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