Local philanthropist funds disabled vet documentary
Lois Pope hopes film ‘Debt of Honor’ will raise awareness
Two weeks from its national television premiere, local philanthropist Lois Pope said she found inspiration for documentary “Debt of Honor” on a New York City stage in the 1960s.
Pope, seated in her sprawling Manalapan home Tuesday afternoon,recalled the benefit concert in which she sang a rendition of “Somewhere” to soldiers who had just returned from Vietnam.
“When I got to the line hold my hand and I’ll take you there I reached out to the solider in front of me to take his hands but he had no hands,” Pope said that moment became her mission.
The starlet would become an heiress to the National Enquirer and a champion for disabled veterans.
“They tell you in the history books who won and lost wars but not the stories of the people who come back disabled,” said Pope. “It’s not just one day, they are disabled for life.”
Pope funded the documentary that looks at war through the eyes of disabled veterans. The film includes interviews with famous vets like congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and Jr. Martinez, who viewers may recognize from “Dancing with the Stars.”
Pope also enlisted an Emmy award-winning director. She hopes all of it will boost awareness to a cause she said demands attention now more than ever.
With advancements in tech and medicine, Pope said casualties in war have decreased, “They don’t die, which is good. They come back but they come back disabled.”
Pope said she is working to get “Debt of Honor” shown to high school students nationwide, but until then she hopes the documentary will give civilians a glimpse into the lives of those who fought. Disabled veterans, who Pope said, are still fighting to be understood.
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