D.J.'s Hero Awards honor young people who have overcome obstacles, given back to the community

May 14, 2012

Seven high school seniors are the recipients of this year’s DJ’s Hero awards.

The scholarships were awarded at Monday’s D.J.’s Hero Awards luncheon. The awards, sponsored by the Salvation Army, honor young people who’ve overcome obstacles and given back to their community.

This year’s luncheon featured Bob and Lee Woodruff. Bob Woodruff is a reporter and anchor for ABC News. He was critically injured in January 2006 in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq while covering the war, and spent five weeks in a coma with traumatic brain injuries. He says his story, and those of the D.J.’s Hero Award winners, are about finding hope in the face of obstacles. “Sometimes we really forget how blessed we are until we get the chance to help. And you know, there’s no magic to the recovery for those, but I think when you’ve got people like this that want to help I think it steps up their recovery, and certainly their hope.”

Lee Woodruff, an author and contributor to CBS News, says her husband’s recovery was a miracle and a symbol of hope. “There are certainly many who believe, I think I do too, that Bob’s life was spared that day to be a voice for those who’ve gone through the journey with traumatic brain injury, or for our troops, who up to that point six years ago weren’t really getting a lot of attention in terms of the thousands of young men and women who had cycled through the military hospitals with these type of injuries.”

The Woodruffs set up a foundation to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries receive the services they need after returning home from combat. Bob Woodruff returned to ABC News in 2007.

The DJ’s Hero Awards are named in memory of D.J. Sokol, son of David and Peggy Sokol, who died in 1999 after a battle with cancer. He was 18 years old.