Celebrating Bob Woodruff’s Seventeeth Alive Day  | Bob Woodruff Foundation

Celebrating Bob Woodruff’s Seventeeth Alive Day 

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After surviving a roadside bomb attack in Iraq 17 years ago, today Bob Woodruff focuses on ensuring veterans thrive after service

ABC NEWS - Bob Woodruff (center) pictured with protective clothing just moments prior to Iraq bombing.   (CREDIT:  ABC NEWS/ VINNIE MALHOTRA) Jan. 29, 2006 "World News Tonight" anchor, Bob Woodruff and his camera man, Doug Vogt, are both in serious condition after they were hit by an improvised explosive device in Taji, Iraq, today. Woodruff, Vogt and their four-man team were traveling in a convoy with the Iraqi army. They were in a mechanized vehicle when the explosive went off. The exposion was followed by small arms fire. Both men suffered head injuries.

ABC NEWS – Bob Woodruff (center) pictured just moments prior to roadside bombing in which he was injured in Iraq on January 29, 2006. (Credit: ABC News/Vinnie Malhotra).

One moment can radically change a person’s life. Sometimes, that single moment can also change the lives of many people. ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff experienced this firsthand 17 years ago. 

On January 29, 2006, Bob was in Iraq, reporting for “World News Tonight” on the transfer of power during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The truck he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb.

“The blast knocked the vehicle over, tore a hole through it, and nearly killed me,” Bob recounts.

Reflecting on Seventeen Alive Days  

In 2023, Bob celebrates his 17th Alive Day. This day of reflection and remembrance marks the anniversary when a veteran or active-duty service member survived a traumatic experience. Usually, the experience is a combat wound.  

“You just feel blessed that you’re alive and you’re awake,” Bob told People Magazine when speaking of his injury. “And then you start to slowly realize you’re not the same person that you were before.”  

Focusing on Hope and Possibilities 

Bob’s wounds were severe and his recovery was long. He suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that would alter his and his family’s lives. During his nearly 40 days in a medically-induced coma at Bethesda Naval Hospital, his wife Lee was by his side the entire time. 

“I knew the predictions were really dire. Yet I decided not to listen to any of that,” Lee told People. “Until he woke up and we knew what we were dealing with, I wasn’t going to play worst-case-scenario.” 

At Walter Reed, Lee spent time with the families of service members also receiving treatment. Lee noticed many suffered similar injuries to Bob’s traumatic brain injury. However, not all received the level of support Bob received.  

“We were getting so much attention because Bob was the anchor of World News,” Lee recalled, “and all around me were these families that really deserved the attention.” 

Lee wondered how these veterans could receive the care and support they deserve. The idea for the Bob Woodruff Foundation was born.  

Investing in support for our service members, our veterans, and their families 

Today, 17 years later, the Bob Woodruff Foundation finds, funds, and shapes impactful programs for our nation’s veterans. To date, we’ve invested $124 million in providing the highest levels of support for our veterans.  

Many veterans suffer life-changing wounds similar to Bob’s. We work to ensure these veterans, their families and their caregivers receive the same level of care Bob received.  

We invite you to stand up for heroes. Help ensure our veterans, service members and their families have access to the support and resources they have earned for as long as they need.