America's Got Talent wounded veteran not as he claims to be....
It was a story that took the internet fast, quickly being spotlighted all over the place, including the main page at Yahoo. His name is Timothy Poe, and his story and singing ability were heartwrenching....
My sister-in-law watched it with my nieces while my brother was recovering from a back operation, and she told me yesterday that they all cried when they watched him.
Only one problem, his story is a lie, and his fellow soldiers with the 114th Transportation Company weren't about to let it stand. They took to all the websites touting Poe, and told their stories, and explained how Poe had not been injured with a grenade, had never cleared buildings, had never earned a purple heart.
Eventually the Minn National Guard was forced to respond with a press release of their own:
STATEMENT FROM THE MINNESOTA NATIONAL GUARD
~~ Attributable to Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, Spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard ~~
Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe served in the Minnesota Army National Guard from Dec. 3, 2002 until May 26, 2011, and performed as a supply specialist.
His military records indicate that he served with the Minnesota National Guard in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 until July 15, 2008, and was deployed to Afghanistan from July 28, 2009 to Aug. 30, 2009.
Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports. The Minnesota National Guard can also confirm that he was not awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in combat.
And so, what could have been a great story about one man overcoming a speech impediment, and his honorable service in the military became the latest case of Stolen Valor.
I don't watch this show, but I got a phone call early yesterday morning asking me to get on this case. My caller knew this guy, and knew his story was made up. And this wasn't an on-the-spot fabrication, he's apparentlty been telling tall tales for years. Just look at this flyer from a golf tournament he partook in, all the information contained here is self-reported from Poe to the organizers:
As the National Guard release makes clear, he's added a lot of things. No purple heart, no bronze star, no Combat Infantryman's Badge, no tours in Iraq.
The story is ongoing, as people are still emailing me tips on things Tim Poe has said at other times, and even the New York Post is on the hunt now, including talking to Poe's ex-wife....
Poe’s ex-wife, Kelly Ballard, said she has never heard her former spouse stutter like he did on the show.
“There were no combat injuries,” said Ballard from her Texas home. “I think he developed a ‘feel sorry for me’ stutter.” [...]
He claimed that had he not been injured, he might never have discovered his singing voice. But Ballard said years earlier, he was the lead singer in a band called “Crawlspace.”
Show producers said they first learned only yesterday that Poe had been lying.
As all this was breaking yesterday, one guy on Facebook stood up to defend America's Got Talent and Poe, saying:
Really people don’t you think the show would do there research before televising his addition as well as the network. The net work dose full on back grounds on the contestant and there stories before the show even comes out let alone be put on air and I’m sure if your story was true about Tim Poe the US Military would of already came out to say he lying after all these addition were over a month ago. I do respect and support are troops but this just seems like bullying to me.
Well actually, no, their lack of research on this guy doesn't surprise me at all. As a nearly full-time Stolen Valor hunter, we find this all the time, whether on TV or in some print medium.
Within the next few weeks the Supreme Court will rule on whether the Stolen Valor Law remains legally binding. Some claim that it is a violation of the First Amendment, and that no one is harmed by these phonies. Yeah, well tell that to my little nieces who were so moved by this guy's story, only to have to be told by their Uncle that sometimes people lie to get attention. And unless the Supreme Court upholds the law, Poe will get away with his lies without even being sent to bed without dinner.
How is that justice for those of us who did serve?