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Leader visits for book signing

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Kim Walter/Daily Rep. Frank Wolf is shown at a signing event at The Good Life on Main Street in Front Royal on Saturday.

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Rep. Frank Wolf signs a copy of his book, “Prisoner of Conscience,” for Warren County resident John Kilgellen, 13, at an event on Saturday in Front Royal. Kim Walter/Daily

Frank Wolf comes to The Good Life

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, made a stop Saturday afternoon at The Good Life bookstore in Front Royal to sign copies of his book, "Prisoner of Conscience: One Man's Crusade for Global, Human and Religious Rights."

About 20 community members came out to meet the congressman and learn more about the issues he raises in the book. Wolf spoke to them about the hundreds of persecuted religious leaders around the world.

"There are bombings and killings as we speak," Wolf said. The book came out last October, and Wolf said it took him over two years to put it together.

"The main message is we should remember people who are being persecuted abroad," he said.

Bret Hrbek, a local financial adviser, invited Wolf to town for the book signing. Hrbek worked as an intern for Wolf in 1994.

"He's inspired me to research and be involved in human rights," Hrbek said of Wolf, and added that after interning, he wrote his senior paper on human rights in China.

"He's kind of like Indiana Jones, sneaking into China, Tibet, Sudan, Soviet Russia ... he's been a real leader," Hrbek said. "Other leaders are being hosted by foreign governments and they get to see the nice parts of countries, but [Wolf] is going in without diplomatic immunity and talking with persecuted people so he can be honest in his reports."

John Kilgellen, 13, of Warren County, bought a copy of the book on Saturday and said he had plans to go home and read it.

"I'm inspired to go to West Point," he said.

John said he hoped that talking to Wolf might be helpful and that he might offer some advice on achieving a dream of a military career.

Hrbek, like many others, knew that Wolf went to different countries, but said he didn't realize the risks involved.

"In the highest level of Chinese government [Wolf] is well known...and disliked," Hrbek said.

Wolf said that he was in Sudan just last week.

"We have an obligation to advocate, and if the foreign governments don't hear Americans speak out, then they think we don't care and that they can do whatever they want," Wolf said of the ongoing religious persecution.

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