All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Monday, February 23, 2015


Note from the Editor:
Whom You Know originally published this piece on November 20, 2013:
It earned our Highest Recommendation then, and last night it earned an OSCAR.
Congratulations to HBO Documentaries and all involved.

This is what was originally published and is unedited:

For nearly fifty years, Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner has been entrusted with Manhattan’s finest wardrobes. New York’s fashion boutiques have been recommending Hallak to their loyal customers for years. They understand the importance of quality fabric care and protecting their client’s investment. While Hallak is known for their expert handling of couture and other precious items, they also make it a point to give your more casual garments the same level of attention. Their representatives are always on the look out for the hard-to-notice stains, loose seams, missing buttons, etc. You can trust Hallak Cleaners with your entire wardrobe and then some. A sample of some of their specialized services: 

Tables & Bed Linens

Suede, Leather & Furs 

Couture & Casual Wear 

Custom Interior Services 

Designer Handbag & Purse Cleaning 

Wedding Gown Preservation & Bridal Services

Expert tailoring department located at both locations.

Complimentary Pick Up and Delivery Service 6 Days a Week. 

Hallak Cleaners

1232 Second Avenue (near 65th) 

New York, NY 10065 


If you have any questions or would like to schedule a pick up, please feel free to email us at 


We are proudly patriotic at Whom You Know, and this review is dedicated to the memory of Peachy's grandfather who earned a purple heart in WWII as a Third Division Marine in the Pacific.  We love you, miss you and are so proud of you Grampy.

It should greatly shock you that today in America, Veterans are killing themselves at the rate of 22 a day: nearly one per hour.  There is one call center in America dedicated to calls of suicidal Veterans in upstate New York and they receive 22,000 calls a month.   It's interesting to note that the employees of this call center are composed of 25% Veterans, who truly can understand what the inbound callers are going through.   It's not unlike a firehouse.  The intensity of these situations seen on calls is tremendously sad and handled with extraordinary care of those at the receiving line of the calls.  Vivid emotions color this documentary of depth by HBO, which is an absolute must-see and a wake-up call to Americans today.  Veterans must be shown how appreciated they are and helped with love to overcome their demons.  So far, there have been over 900,000 inbound calls.

We do not see the faces of the Veterans and their full names are not revealed.  Their voice is enough to paint a picture of horror as they relive their reality of war in their everyday life with no escaping these dreaded days that they need help putting behind them.  We're not sure we've seen more compassion ever shown in a documentary, and those that work at this call center should be so proud of their crucially important work, and it must be difficult to leave their thoughts at work and not know exactly what transpires after each call.  This anxiety is clearly passed on to the receiver of the call who show acute emotional intelligence in knowing just what to say to get the veteran to not take fatal action.

Yes, this is hard to watch.  Surely it was much harder to be at war firsthand.

Veterans need to understand that on an individual basis, no one can replace them.  The responders emphasize this with grace.  The hangups are the scariest of all.

The pure procedural measures, which of course do make sense, will make you anxious as you the viewer will be incredibly drawn into each scenario.  Getting police and rescue workers in order on other phone lines by other representatives-they communicate typing via computer systems-in time and accurately are so powerful and will make a great impression on you.  These callers cannot become a statistic and must be shown by the kindness of the call receivers how they must find a reason for living.  

The scary silence that punctuates calls will leave you glued to the television.  This is not a show you will want to eat or drink during as we're not sure we've seen a more intense documentary.  When it's over you'll start remembering these individuals in your prayers.  It also draws great attention to the mental health stigmas in America and the world today: those that are suffering from mental health sicknesses should be helped by professionals and not be ashamed.

In particular, we were so impressed by the representative named Maureen who works on Christmas Eve.  

Finally, the statistic that should scare you the most is that since 2001, more servicepeople have taken their own lives than have died on the battlefield.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 has earned Whom You Know's highest recommendation.
You must see the plight of those suffering, and see and hear those with hearts of gold that respond.


Since 2001, more veterans have died by their own hand than in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, one veteran dies by suicide in America every 80 minutes. While only 1% of Americans has served in the military, former service members account for 20% of all suicides in the U.S.

Based in Canandaigua, NY and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Veterans Crisis Line receives more than 22,000 calls each month from veterans of all conflicts who are struggling or contemplating suicide due to the psychological wounds of war and the challenges of returning to civilian life.

The timely documentary CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 spotlights the traumas endured by America’s veterans, as seen through the work of the hotline’s trained responders, who provide immediate intervention and support in hopes of saving the lives of service members. Debuting on Veterans Day, MONDAY, NOV. 11 (9:00-9:45 p.m. ET/PT), the film is directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent (HBO’s “Wartorn: 1861-2013” and “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq”) and produced by Dana Perry (HBO’s “Boy Interrupted”).

Other HBO playdates: Nov. 11 (3:30 a.m.), 14 (12:30 p.m.), 17 (6:00 a.m., 3:15 p.m.), 19 (10:45 a.m.) and 23 (12:15 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Nov. 13 (8:00 p.m.), 18 (9:30 a.m.) and 26 (2:10 p.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents a weekly series this fall, debuting provocative new specials every Monday through Dec. 9. Other November films include: “Tales from the Organ Trade” (Nov. 4); “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley” (Nov. 18); and “Toxic Hot Seat” (Nov. 25).

After serving their country overseas, many military veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress, depression and addiction. Since 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered about 900,000 calls. CRISIS HOTLINE highlights how its dedicated responders react to a variety of complex calls and handle the emotional aftermath of what can be life-and-death conversations. The film captures these extremely private moments, where the professionals, many of whom are themselves veterans or veterans’ spouses, can often interrupt the thoughts and plans of suicidal callers to steer them out of crisis. Hotline workers sometimes intervene successfully by seizing on the caller's ambivalence and illuminating his or her reasons for living.

The responders work diligently with rescue coordinators to keep vets safe before help arrives. Many are like Kenneth, an Afghanistan war veteran and father of five who is tormented by recurring dreams of “bodies face-down in the water.” “You’re their father,” responder Darlene tells the former Marine. “No one can replace you.”

“This is a good ending to this day,” says Bob, a Crisis Line supervisor, after a daylong search for an anonymous caller concludes with the distressed young man being admitted to an Army medical facility. At the call center, success means keeping the callers engaged in communication until they are out of immediate danger.

Just as the veterans suffer from loneliness and feelings of isolation, Crisis Line workers strive to support each other, particularly in fraught, emotionally taxing moments. Robert, an emergency coordinator, remembers losing a caller to suicide and the ensuing feelings of anger, sadness and self-doubt. But after processing the loss with a supervisor, he notes, “We get back to work as fast as we can. We’ve got other vets to work with.”

“Depression is really hard to work on, on your own,” Maureen tells a suicidal veteran on Christmas Eve. With American veterans taking their own lives at a rate of 22 a day, the work of the Veterans Crisis Line has never been more critical. All year, 24 hours a day, the responders fight an invisible enemy that endangers service members even after they’ve returned home from war.

Ellen Goosenberg Kent’s HBO credits include “Wartorn: 1861-2013,” the Emmy® nominees “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq” and “Talked to Death,” and the Emmy® winners “How Do You Spell God?,” “Going, Going, Almost Gone! Animals in Danger,” “I Have Tourette’s But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me” and “Happy to Be Nappy and Other Stories of Me.”

The Veterans Crisis Line number is 1-800-273-8255.

For more information about the film, visit: Facebook:; Twitter: @HBODocs #CrisisHotlineVeteransPress1.

CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 is presented in association with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent; produced by Dana Perry; edited by Geof Bartz, A.C.E.; supervising producer, Jacqueline Glover; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

Back to TOP