Journalist Bob Woodruff chats with us about Dine Out for Heroes, and how the special event is aiding post-9/11 wounded veterans.
When was the Bob Woodruff Foundation started? BOB WOODRUFF: On Jan. 29, 2006, I learned more than I ever wanted to about the wounds of war when a roadside bomb in Iraq severely injured my cameraman Doug Vogt and me. If not for quick actions of our brave soldiers, medics, doctors and nurses, I definitely wouldn’t be here today.
I had the full support of ABC News and Disney to give me every resource available to drive my recovery. Inspired by our experience, my family founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation to ensure that our veterans could enjoy the same access to resources, beyond those provided by the government.
This is the fourth year of Dine Out for Heroes, restaurants are pledging to donate just $1 per guest on Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11. Which Restaurants In ny will be supporting? BW: Dozens of restaurants across the city have signed on to support our veterans, including Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C., Beauty & Essex, Butter, Del Posto, Esca, The Lambs Club, The National Bar & Dining Rooms, Otto, The Stanton Social, T-Bar Restaurant and Lounge, and Vandal.
Where will the funds raised go? BW: The Bob Woodruff Foundation finds, funds and shapes innovative programs across the nation that meet the needs of post-9/11 wounded veterans, service members and their families. Our grants focus on three key areas: education and employment, rehabilitation and recovery, and quality of life.
This year Alex Guarnaschelli has joined forces ABC’s Bob Woodruff, Penny Glazer and Caroline Hirsch for this year’s Dine Out For Heroes. How did the group come together? BW: Dine Out for Heroes was the idea of restaurateurs Penny and Peter Glazier, who were inspired by our annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit that is produced by Caroline Hirsch and the New York Comedy Festival. They saw an opportunity to extend that goodwill by engaging the restaurant community to support our nation's injured veterans. After all, what's more New York than dinner and a show.
Caroline, who knew Alex through her love of comedy and charitable causes, reached out to her last year to see if she’d lend her support. Alex quickly signed on and it’s been through her that other notable chefs have joined our cause.
How much has been raised over the past three years? BW: Dine Out for Heroes has raised more than $220,000 to date.
What is the greatest achievement the organization has achieved? BW: This journey began with an improvised explosive device in Iraq, and our journey to heal gave us a small window to make a difference. Our family’s story of injury, recovery and resilience became an opportunity to illuminate the stories of the brave young men and women who experienced similar wounds as a result of our nation’s longest wars. Along the way, we have have been able to invest more than $45 million in programs benefiting today’s veterans and their loved ones. It’s been the most rewarding experience of our lives.