Trader Monthly magazine, New York, NY, senior editor; Trader Daily, New York, NY, writer.
Nominee, National Magazine Award.
Talking Proud: Rediscovering the Magical Season of the 1980 Buffalo Bills, Abington Display (New York, NY), 2005.
The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up: A True Story, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Rich Blake is a veteran journalist who is a senior editor for Trader Monthly magazine and writes for Trader Daily, the online daily version of the magazine. Trader Monthly is a magazine about the financial services industry and is specifically geared toward individuals whose interest is in trading stocks, commodities, and other financial instruments. The magazine presents interviews with prominent traders, provides tips and techniques, and examines the culture and lifestyle of those who make their living by buying and selling financial instruments.
In addition to writing about financial services, Blake has turned his attention to book publishing and used his training and experience as a journalist to produce The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up: A True Story, which a Publishers Weekly reviewer called "gripping" and a Kirkus Reviews contributor found "moving" and "bittersweet." Written in a straightforward, journalistic style, the book tells the story of Donny Herbert, a firefighter in Buffalo, New York. Blake recounts the details of Herbert's life, including his upbringing as the oldest of seven children of a U.S. Navy veteran and his skill as an outdoorsman and bow hunter. Blake's account goes on to detail Herbert's fulfillment of a dream to become a firefighter in Buffalo. The job, with its danger and irregular schedule, began to cause stress in Herbert's life, including strain on his marriage and his relationship with his three sons. Blake himself was tangentially connected to Herbert, for Herbert's wife, Linda, is Blake's cousin.
The core of the book is the aftermath of a 1995 fire. Herbert was in the structure's attic when its roof caved in. Herbert was trapped under a beam and went without oxygen for about six minutes. Physicians, according to Blake's account, were uncertain as to whether Herbert was permanently brain damaged, simply unable to speak or see, or able to make a full recovery. However, he slipped into a coma-like state for nearly ten years. The family prayed for his recovery, and during this decade tried numerous forms of therapy. Finally, Linda Herbert consulted with a Muslim doctor who prescribed a neurostimulant. Seemingly miraculously, Herbert awakened from his coma and began to speak coherently. Friends and family appeared to witness Herbert's apparent recovery. But after sixteen hours, Herbert began to slip away, and two days later he lapsed back into a vegetative state. He died of pneumonia in February, 2006. Herbert and Linda were devout Catholics, and Linda regarded her husband's brief recovery as a kind of miracle. One of the book's subtexts is the question of whether the Catholic Church would regard the recovery as miraculous as well.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up: A True Story.
Library Journal, September 1, 2007, Dorris Douglass, review of The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up, p. 144.
Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up, p. 70.
ABC News,http://abcnews.com/ (May 9, 2008), excerpt from The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up.
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (May 9, 2008), brief biography of author.