SC: What has been your biggest achievement to date ?
RC: This latest project by far and also my three Emmy awards. One of the Emmys was for a story which freed an American who was held unlawfully in a Mexican prison. Getting results like that is what I believe powerful journalism is all about.
SC: You have written two highly acclaimed books. Can you tell us a little bit about them ?
RC: My first book was “Blonde Ambition” about the late and very colorful Anna Nicole Smith. It became an instant bestseller and raised money for D.A.R.E., Drug Abuse Resistance Education, in schools.
This second book, which is coming out in paperback this week, is the most emotional journey of my life. The book is called “Quiet Hero Secrets From My Father’s Past” and it’s about a deeply personal subject, my own father, who was a POW in WWII, saved by American troops. His story of survival and bravery reveals the incredible strength of the human spirit.
SC: Are you still on TV and radio a lot?
RC: Very often. It’s been really hectic the last few weeks especially since the great news about Osama Bin Laden. I covered a lot of the Bin Laden news before and right after 9/11 and was the first journalist to witness an interrogation of a detainee at Guantanamo. It was great to see we finally got the mastermind of Al Qaeda after all these years.
SC: You do so much for our military. Can you tell us how your new book helps our troops?
RC: Proceeds go to a great cause, wounded warriors and their families through a new USO program called Operation Enduring Care. My father was 90 pounds (standing almost six feet tall) when he escaped from POW camp and was saved by young American GIs. This book is my dad’s way and my way of thanking them for saving his life and I believe saving the world in WWII. We all owe our troops a tremendous debt of gratitude.
SC: How great is the need to help our troops?
RC: The need is tremendous and the government is simply not capable of doing it all. There are so many ways you can help, including buying the book and helping charities that honor and provide vital care for our active duty troops and veterans. I feel as an American we cannot let these courageous men and women fall through the cracks.
SC: How can your new book help others to reconcile?
RC: The book has caused my father and me to reunite after decades of estrangement. I believe it can help others heal too. I have gotten the most inspiring
e-mails from people saying the book has helped them convey what they could not articulate in their own words.
Often words are hard to find when there is friction and distance between people. One man told me he hadn’t talked to his dad in 30 years, and he sent his father my book and they were meeting for lunch soon! I had tears in my eyes when I read that.
SC: Your father struggled with post traumatic stress disorder. How prevalent is this today for our troops?
RC: It’s estimated that more than half a million of our troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan alone have some form of PTSD. Those are staggering numbers and why we all should care about this. Many every day citizens also encounter some traumatic events outside of war, but I’ve learned it’s important to get help. My father didn’t talk about the pain he experienced in war for 65 years. Quiet Hero, my new book, caused him to finally share his extraordinary story and move forward emotionally. I finally feel I have my father back.
SC: How does it feel to give back so much of your time, energy and love to the troops?
RC: It is so rewarding for me to be able to put a smile on their face and tell them how much America cares. My father grew up in Poland where many of his closest friends died for freedom. We have to count our blessings every day that we live in the best country in the world.
SC: You do so much charity work . What is the plan for your life now?
RC: Helping troops is my life’s mission. I have no doubt that for the rest of my life, I will be helping our servicemen and women and their families. I will continue my TV and radio broadcasting, but the troops and my Quiet Hero will never be far from my thoughts.
SC: Can you tell our 20,000 members something that we can all use to be inspired?
RC: Remember to live every day to its fullest. I’ve learned a lot about redemption and forgiveness while doing my new book. I hope people learn to recognize Quiet Heroes in their own families, and realize that by making the choice to give back to society and reach out to ones you love, your life is the one that’s enriched.
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LINKS FOR PAPERBACK BOOKS:
“Secrets From My Father’s Past”