WEDU PBS to Host Special Preview and Panel Discussion of Documentary Series COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE, Featuring Local Tampa Veteran Taylor Urruela
TAMPA, FL (April 7, 2014) — WEDU PBS will host a special preview screening of COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE, followed by a panel discussion with executive producer and best-selling author Wes Moore and local Tampa Veteran and University of Tampa student, Taylor Urruela. The event, which will take place at the historic Tampa Theatre on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., will engage the community in a discussion on some of the most difficult questions related to returning from war. Reservations to attend the special screening event are available online at www.wedu.org/comingbackwithwesmoore.
In the series, which will air in three parts on Tuesdays, May 13-27, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. on WEDU PBS, Moore takes viewers with him into the personal lives of different soldiers as they attempt to reintegrate into society, establish new identities and—for many—find a new mission.
One of those personal stories is that of Brian “Taylor” Urruela who longs to be normal. The 28-year-old college freshman on the GI Bill has a dream: to play on the University of Tampa junior varsity baseball team. That’s not an easy accomplishment for anyone; the University of Tampa has won six NCAA national baseball championships. But Taylor is 10 years older than his would-be teammates and he lost a leg in Iraq. The pain of training and the stress of adapting to college pose a challenge to Taylor’s journey to health. But Taylor calls on the skills he honed in the Army infantry. He assesses the mission, adjusts the goal and succeeds in a meaningful way.
“We want to better humanize re-integration by taking the audience into the lives of these men and women as they return from war,” said Moore, who is an Army combat veteran. “I want to make sure people understand these stories and who these people are who are coming back from combat.”
Over the course of three episodes, COMING BACK also follows Moore into the lives of Army Sergeant Andy Clark of Denver, CO; Army Sergeant Bobby Henline of San Antonio, TX; Army Reserve Staff Sergeant Letrice Titus of Syracuse, NY; Army National Guard Sergeant Brad Farnsley of Fort Knox, KY; Earl Johnson of Baltimore, MD; Air Force Staff Sergeant Stacy Pearsall of Charleston, SC; Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Schaumburg, IL; and husband and wife Marine Sergeant Christopher Phelan and Air Force Captain Star Lopez of Los Angeles, CA.
The series begins with Moore’s visit to Bonnie Collins, the mother of one of Moore’s oldest friends and a fellow officer, Brian Collins. In the first episode, “Coming Back,” viewers learn that the previous year, after getting married and beginning a new career, Collins abruptly took his own life. This incident initiates Moore’s desire to learn more about why some veterans can get on with their lives, while some cannot. In “Fitting In,” Moore explores the concept of identity, how it’s altered during deployment and how it’s altered again when a veteran returns home. “Moving Forward,” the final episode, examines the veterans’ drive to find a new mission, to contribute, to be part of something bigger than themselves.
“My hope is that the public can get a glimpse of what the end of the wars means to these brave men and women and to their families,” continued Moore. “There is more we can do than simply saying ‘thank you for your service.’ We can truly show our gratitude by asking them to share their experiences.”
Locally, WEDU will collaborate with the United Service Organizations (USO), in addition to other military support organizations and local veterans groups, to generate awareness about the series and encourage troops, families and veterans to tell their stories. This will include the April 30th screening event and panel discussion.
Major funding for COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Diversity and Innovation Fund, which supports content that engages diverse viewers and encourages the use of emerging technologies to reach new audiences, and PBS.
COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE is a production of Powderhouse Productions and is executive produced by Joel Olicker. Molly Fowler also served as co-executive producer for Powerhouse Productions.
About Powderhouse Productions
Since 1994, Powderhouse Productions has been producing award-winning television for cable and broadcast networks, agencies, brands and corporations. From important documentaries to factual entertainment, Powderhouse excites, inspires and entertains viewers throughout the world.
ABOUT WEDU PBS
WEDU PBS is West Central Florida’s primary PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties through media platforms including on-air programming and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds. Financially supported by the community, the organization offers a wealth of award-winning inspirational, educational and enlightening content over a variety of media platforms including: television programming, station’s website, wedu.org and various social media platforms, monthly member magazine Premiere, educational outreach activities and a myriad of special events. WEDU’s focus on the local community has resulted in the station being regarded as a beacon of trust for men, women and children of every walk of life no matter their age, ethnicity or socio-economic status. WEDU is a treasured community resource; a window to the world for the homebound and a vital educational source for the youngest members of society. WEDU prides itself on its position in the Tampa Bay community as a leader, partner, informed citizen and a member of PBS, the most trusted institution in America (ORC International’s DualFrame CARAVAN, January 2014). For more information, program schedules or to support WEDU PBS, visit wedu.org, WEDU Public Media on Facebook and Twitter or call 813.254.9338.