The hero with the hand sanitizer

You might remember Bonnie Bleskachek as the former Minneapolis fire chief who was demoted after she was accused of beating her lover and harassing subordinates. The city spent more than $410,000 on legal fees, settlements and salary related to the allegations. But to Jay Berkman, who works for the PR firm Mata Global Solutions, she's an unsung hero of the 35W collapse. Downtown Journal's Michael Metzger writes about an odd press release [pdf] it received that referred to Bleskachek as an "embattled hero... [who] hasn't allowed recent personal controversy to stand in the way of helping Minnesota citizens in times of crisis."

Her deed? Working at the city's emergency center after the collapse, the release stated, "she was the first to respond to an unsolicited call from a Connecticut company offering to contribute a shipment of [...] a new, alcohol-free hand sanitizer, for emergency workers at the disaster scene." Metzger writes that Bleskachek approved the opportunistic press release and that Berkman said he'd Googled Bleskachek to learn of the controversy. "I'm very familiar with what you see and what you read and what you hear [in the media] is always not what is necessarily the truth, in all due respect. It gets taken out of context," he said. "If the things that she had done were as terrible as portrayed, one would think she would've been summarily fired... They didn't fire her."

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