(WTOL) - WTOL 11 News Anchor Viviana Hurtado and Veteran Photojournalist/News Operations Manager Paul Kwapich won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award in feature reporting for "A Veteran's Road to Recovery."
The story, which aired on Veterans Day 2015, revisits Army veteran Matthew Drake, Northwest Ohio’s first service member injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Drake is the lone survivor of an IED attack making his eleven-year road to recovery miraculous.
But it is a continuing physical and emotional struggle to bridge the gap between the cost of his intensive therapy necessary to heal Drake's brain trauma and the benefits the VA provides.
"Matthew Drake's story is well-known to Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan. Our challenge was to delicately highlight the toll of war on our veterans and their families and his mother Lisa's epic fight to make her son whole. We are honored for the privilege given to us by the Drake family to share this part of their remarkable story with our viewers," said Viviana Hurtado.
"A Veteran's Road to Recovery" bested entries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio to win the industry gold standard Edward R. Murrow Award, named in honor of the legendary broadcaster and bestowed by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
WTOL 11 News is the only station in Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan to receive this recognition in any category.
"I'm humbled that WTOL/WUPW has received a regional Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in Feature Reporting," said Anthony Knopps, WTOL 11 News Director.
The story now moves to a national competition in the same category.