Bob Woodruff Foundation: Serving military families who serve

Elizabeth Howe
November 16, 2018 - 12:48 pm

Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Alex Manne

All eyes in America were on ABC "World News Tonight" reporter Bob Woodruff after his armored vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. The quick actions of soldiers and military medics saved his life. He spent 36 days in a medically-induced coma, and Bob's wife Lee said a bedside prayer that if Bob made it through, while they had the attention of the country, they would use the platform to raise money and awareness to support military personnel, veterans, and families.

"What they realized while Bob was recovering was that they were getting extra support," said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. "And there were soldiers and Marines on the same hospital floor not getting that above and beyond support."

Today, the Bob Woodruff Foundation supports veterans and military families — and they've invested more than $57 million doing it. 

"Our work is really to find the best programs that are out there," said Dougherty. "There are so many amazing organizations doing a lot of supporting work for veterans and military families. Our work is to find programs that are supporting the most urgent needs or emerging needs and making sure that they have sustainable models. We're really proud of everything we've done so far." 

While the foundation works to support veterans and families all year, in honor of Military Family Month they've put a particular emphasis on supporting programs that support the families of service members. 

"I think because of the way the foundation was born — with the family — it's very much a part of the spirit of everything we do," Dougherty said. "When you think of the lifestyle of being in the military and how it can certainly throw you some curve balls — a lot of the work that we're doing is just about helping people be agile and adjust and make the most of their time while their family is serving."

The foundation supports a range of programs that help military families find respite and support, establish careers, and even start families. 

"There's a program that we launched a year ago that's supporting couples who have been affected by a catastrophic wound — helping them to have children and start a family. It's some pretty cutting-edge work that we're excited to do," Dougherty said. 

Staying on the front lines of emerging technologies and programs is part of what makes the Bob Woodruff Foundation such a great resource for veterans and families. 

"I think the most important thing is to be paying attention to what's on the horizon — what's next."

Visit the Bob Woodruff Foundation website to read about programs and events and find out how to get involved.

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