Topic: Military-Focused Initiatives
It was a Veterans Day to remember for 150 local World War II veterans who spent the day in Washington, D.C., because of the efforts of WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, S.C. For many of the men and women, it was their first and only chance to see the National World War II Memorial. To make the trip possible, the station held a day-long telethon, which raised $20,300 – enough to cover the entire cost of the trip. The station ran public service announcements, promotional mentions and news stories about the fundraiser, as well as interviews with veterans about what the anticipated trip meant to them. While in D.C., the WPDE news crew captured the emotion, awe and appreciation of the veterans at the memorial and shared it with viewers through live cut-ins every 30 minutes throughout the day. The station continued with the veterans’ stories through follow-up interviews once they returned to South Carolina. In an area with a high population of veterans, being able to contribute to the event was personal for many, including WPDE’s Billy Huggins who donated in honor and remembrance of his five uncles who served in WWII but did not live long enough to see the memorial finished.