Updated Fri, May 9, 2014 10:13 am
Tuesdays, May 13-27 • 8:00 p.m.
“Coming Back With Wes Moore,” a new series executive produced by best-selling author Wes Moore, will air in three parts on Tuesdays, May 13-27, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. The series recounts Wes Moore’s search for answers to some of the most difficult questions related to returning from war. Moore’s journey takes 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.
“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.
Over the course of three episodes, “Coming Back” 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; Army Sergeant Brian “Taylor” Urruela of Tampa, FL and husband and wife Marine Sergeant Christopher Phelan and Air Force Captain Star Lopez of Los Angeles, CA.
“‘Coming Back With Wes Moore’ provides a window into the lives of those who have returned home after serving our country in a time of war,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming at PBS. “PBS is proud to feature this extraordinary series. It is a statement of thanks to the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation. And it will contribute to an ongoing conversation about what we as a country — and as family, neighbors and friends — can do to help these soldiers return to civilian life.”
“Wes Moore speaks as a veteran and for veterans who have served our country and now just want the opportunity to apply their talents, commitment and skills as they re-enter civilian life,” said Pat Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “I am very proud of public media and Wes Moore in telling these stories that will create a local and national environment of support and acknowledgement for these extraordinary men and women.”
“Through the CPB Diversity and Innovation Fund, public media stations are serving the needs of a diverse population and inviting all Americans to share in their stories and ultimate successes,” added Joseph Tovares, SVP, Diversity & Innovation, CPB.
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 and 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.”
To expand upon this goal, Moore will travel to select cities and work with PBS member stations to speak to returning veterans, students and the general public. Local veterans groups in each community will further this conversation.
Nationally, PBS 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 screenings and panel discussions that highlight local stories and programs in schools, on military bases and with other organizations.
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.
Veterans that appear to be in crisis should be referred to the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1. The Veterans Crisis Line will be staffed with additional counselors during the three week series run.