ABC reporter Bob Woodruff shares traumatic journey with Tahoe women
February 22, 2010
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; From Chinaand#8217;s Tiananmen Square uprising to Iraqi refugees heading to Sudan, ABC news correspondent Bob Woodruff has covered the globe.
On Feb. 17, Woodruff and his wife Lee, a contributing editor for ABCand#8217;s and#8220;Good Morning America,and#8221; shared their experiences Wednesday at the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundationand#8217;s Queen of Hearts Womenand#8217;s Fund Membership Luncheon. They spoke to raise awareness for their foundation, the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation, an organization supporting injured service members, war veterans and their families.
TTCF Vice Chair Patti Boxeth said Woodruff and his foundation share a similar purpose in helping people recover from traumatic experiences. She hoped the annual luncheon for TTCFand#8217;s female contributors inspired people to reach out to support those in need.
and#8220;They have a story to tell, we have a story to tell,and#8221; Boxeth said and#8220;So itand#8217;s about helping others going through traumatic experiences and the people we support in our community, theyand#8217;re going through traumatic experiences.and#8221;
On Jan. 29, 2006, Woodruff, then a co-anchor on ABCand#8217;s World News tonight, was traveling with American and Iraqi forces near Taji, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.
The blast hit Woodruff and photographer Doug Vogt, breaking Woodruffand#8217;s shoulder and causing both men to suffer severe head wounds and sending Woodruff into a 36-day medically induced coma.
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Woodruff remembers waking up.
and#8220;I didnand#8217;t remember the names of half my family, but I did know that I wasnand#8217;t meant to be alive,and#8221; Woodruff said.
Despite the pain from missing 16 inches of his skull, Woodruff said he recalled feeling intense happiness when he saw his wife for the first time and knew he was going to be OK. It was the beginning of a long journey as Woodruff struggled with a gradual healing process spanning almost a year.
Lee described the healing as unique because of the uncertainty both in its timeline and in its results.
and#8220;No one can tell you how much that person will come back or what his memories will be like, how he will be a year from now, two years from now and#8212; itand#8217;s a total crap shoot,and#8221; Lee said.
Undeterred by the injury, Woodruff fought through the painful recovery coming back to journalism in February 2007 with his on-air report and#8220;To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports.and#8221; The hour-long report told Woodruffand#8217;s story of healing and the predicament of service members with similar traumatic brain injuries returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Woodruff was awarded the Peabody Award in 2008 for his coverage of veteran injuries.
Lee and Woodruff co-authored the book and#8220;In an Instant,and#8221; that chronicles how their family dealt with the uncertainty and pain of injury.
Since his accident, Woodruff has resumed his world coverage tackling issues such as Chinaand#8217;s globalization to North Koreaand#8217;s nuclear program.
and#8220;I certainly want to continue in journalism, which I am,and#8221; Woodruff said.
Looking to future Woodruff said itand#8217;s hard to predict where heand#8217;ll be next or what goals heand#8217;ll set for himself. For now, Woodruff said he simply wants to keep things simple, dedicating time to his family and his profession.
and#8220;I want my kids to be healthy and well educated,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I want my wife and I to be strongly in love with each other and if I get those then itand#8217;s a home run.and#8221;