Home Base Nation

From Injury to Inspiration - Featuring Lee and Bob Woodruff

Episode Summary

As travelers, bestselling writers, and award winning journalists, Lee and Bob Woodruff have always been interested in culture, language, goverment and of course, family. But when Bob was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in January of 2006, he (and they) became “interesting” in an unexpected way. They became faces of a family affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI), a signature injury of the post 9/11 conflicts, right in the middle of sky rocketing numbers of service members with these same injuries, and would become a source of and hope and inspiration for thousands of servicemembers, veterans and military families. Join us for a conversation on recovery, family and the creation of a growing foundation that would serve so many who have served.

Episode Notes

Giving back to servicemembers and families comes in many ways, and for Lee and Bob Woodruff the opportunity surfaced in early 2006. Just weeks after his new job as co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight, Bob was critically injured by a roadside bomb outside of Taji, Iraq.

The blast caused severe traumatic brain injury with need for craniectomy (emergent removal of the left side of his skull), and weeks in the intensive care unit. After 36 days in coma he awoke - and the re-learning process began – To move, speak and reintegrate back to life with his wife Lee and their four kids.

An author, media consultant and mother of four, Lee began writing. Her therapeutic journaling would transform into the NY Times Bestseller, In an Instant, which she coauthored with Bob to tell the story of resilience and reentry from the caregiver and the patient perspective.

While Bob emerged from the ICU to rehabilitation, Lee and Bob’s brothers immediately saw the need for helping not only the wounded servicemember, but the entire family – And thus the Bob Woodruff Foundation was born.

To date, their Foundation has raised and invested over $70M through more than 400 grants, serving more than 2.5 million servicemembers and families. This year marked the 13th year of Stand Up For Heroes, the annual comedy and entertainment event held at Madison Square Garden.

It’s been 10 years since Home Base was born, and it is fitting to sit with the Woodruffs on this milestone year, and it makes even more sense that Bob threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park that year (which you’ll hear was apparently a strike), and the start of a meaningful collaboration for years to come.

Over this period of time, Bob has continued to report and educate all of us from all over the world.Along with four Emmy's for his work in overseas conflict and cultural coverage, Bob has recieved both the Alfred I. duPont Award and the George Foster Peabody Award, the two highest honors in broadcast journalism. Lee has been a contributor for Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, and contiues to inspire, educate and entertain with her best selling work.

We would like to thank the Woodruffs for their hospitality and warm welcome to the Home Base Nation team.


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Home Base Nation Production Team:

Cassandra Falone, Charlotte Luckey, Steve Monaco, Armand Hunter, Bill Davidson

Home Base Media Lab Chairman:

Peter Smyth

Special thanks to Chuck Clough of Above The Basement for Engineering and assistance, and Joe Wallace for photography on location, and Aaron Dowd at Simplecast for your support.

Music selections Love Will Win The War, Home, from colleague and founder of Songwriting with: Soldiers, Darden Smith


The views expressed by guests to the Home Base Nation podcast are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by guests are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base, the Red Sox Foundation or any of its officials.