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Springsteen Performs for ABC's Woodruff -- and Troops Wounded in War

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Springsteen Performs for ABC's Woodruff -- and Troops Wounded in War

Article excerpt

In the darkest days, when ABC's Bob Woodruff was just beginning to recover from the Iraq roadside bombing that tore off part of his skull, drove shrapnel into his head and almost killed him, his wife says they told each other jokes to keep from falling apart.

As in: "I'm the only wife who can say her husband has rocks in his head and really mean it!"

"Laughter has been such a great part of our healing," Lee Woodruff says now. "If we hadn't been able to laugh, we would have just cried."

Now the couple is using humor as a healing force again, this time in a high-profile benefit for wounded U.S. troops - a cause that has become a passion for Woodruff and his family. Conan O'Brien, Robin Williams and Lewis Black are just a few of the personalities scheduled to appear at the Wednesday night benefit for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund. And none other than Bruce Springsteen will provide musical entertainment.

"Stand Up for Heroes," a partnership with the New York Comedy Festival, is expected to net upward of $2.5 million, organizers say, for a cause the family embraced just less than two years ago, when their world was shattered by that roadside bomb.

Since then, Woodruff, who spent 36 days in a medically induced coma, has made what many call an astonishing recovery.

"It's pretty miraculous," says Lee Woodruff. "This man should not be alive." Though his doctors say he will never be 100 percent again, and he still searches for words at times, the former "World News" anchor has returned to work full time as a correspondent, traveling to places like Cuba, Syria and recently Angola.

"It's coming back remarkably fast," Bob Woodruff said in an interview this week. "But I know there are going to be moments, when I'm reporting a story live, that I forget the name of the person I'm interviewing. It might be a campaign, or it might be a hurricane. I might forget the name of the mayor of the town I'm in. But I think people will understand that."

Part of the mission of Woodruff's fund is simply to raise awareness of what wounded troops are going through. Until January 2006, the Woodruff family was like so many others that have had little or no contact with the military and its families.

"None of us had had any experience with the military at all," says Dave Woodruff, Bob's brother, who lives in Detroit and is chairman of the board for the fund. …

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