Generally when you think of people winning Emmy awards, you think of glamorous TV stars on red carpets.
You don’t immediately think of veterans sitting in a meeting room at the Redwood County government center on Tuesday mornings.
Yet for nearly 20 local veterans, it happened on Nov. 9 when the producers of the documentary Battlefield on the Homefront were presented with an Emmy on Oct. 9.
For local veterans, it began in the spring of 2010 when Redwood County Veterans Services Officer (VSO) Marty Caraway was contacted by a Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) producer.
Since 2006, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) has had an ongoing series examining how veterans have been affected by their service to the U.S., and the TPT staff had learned about Redwood County’s Tuesday morning veterans meetings.
The purpose of the meetings: let veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam get together in a safe, confidential setting to talk about their experiences in the wars and afterward.
The meetings are informal; whichever veterans show up that week are welcome.
“It’s a program started by (previous VSO) Harold Read, and has been really popular,” said Caraway.
Apparently such veterans support groups are rare. Caraway said the producers praised Redwood County for its “outside the box outreach” for area veterans.
“They said we brought a new, interesting take on it,” said Caraway. “Even past veterans need support today, and they said Redwood County was unique.”
The TPT producers asked if they could send a camera crew out to interview the Redwood County veterans.
“I asked the vets if they would be comfortable having a TV crew in the room when they were sharing their stories, and everyone was very supportive,” said Caraway.
“The veterans were asked to share their deepest, darkest secrets with the entire state and they did it. They once again stepped up to serve the entire state.”
While the producers were here, they also spent some one-on-one time interviewing several veterans, including Norman Rudenick, Gary Revier, and Roger Hassebroek..
“Luke (Heikkila), one of the producers, said he was extremely humbled to talk with the vets, and hear about the great sacrifices were made by our local veterans,” said Caraway.
In addition, Caraway drove up to St. Paul to be interviewed along with several other VSOs about current issues affecting older veterans.
The episode with the Redwood County veterans, Battlefield on the Homefront: Home and Hope, aired in late 2010 and at various times into 2011.
Earlier this year Caraway was notified the episode had been voted a special regional Emmy award by the The National Academy of Television Arts & Science Upper Midwest Chapter. Because they were listed in the end credits, the veterans were included in those to receive the Emmy.
Page 2 of 2 - Caraway picked up the Emmy on the veterans behalf on Oct. 9. He plans to have a local carpenter create a trophy case so the Emmy can be displayed in the Redwood County Veterans Services Office.
“Ellen DeGeneres has nothing on Redwood County,” joked Caraway.