DENVER, CO - In an ongoing effort to celebrate the lives of the men and women in the U.S. Armed Services, 9NEWS reporter Chris Vanderveen will host a 30-minute documentary about one critically wounded soldier's improbable journey toward parenthood. "Matt and Tracy Keil: An American Story" is the end result of nine months of work from the Emmy award-winning team of reporter Chris Vanderveen and photojournalist Corky Scholl.
"Chris (Vanderveen) is such a champion of the U.S. military and their wonderful families" 9NEWS Vice President and News Director Patti Dennis said. "He spends so much time trying to give American heroes the honor and celebration they deserve."
Matt Keil's story is by now familiar to many 9NEWS viewers. In 2007, just weeks after marrying the love of his life, Tracy, a sniper's bullet pierced the Fort Carson soldier's neck while on patrol in Iraq. Told that he would be paralyzed for life, Matt Keil came back to Colorado that spring to reenergize his recovery. 9NEWS' involvement with the Keils began the moment four short years ago when he returned to the United States.
Then last year, 9NEWS began quietly documenting the most improbable part of Keil's difficult recovery. It was at that time that Tracy Keil, Matt's wife, gave Vanderveen and Scholl permission to document their intimate journey into the unknown terrain of parenthood. Incredibly, the Keils were expecting triplets.
"I'm scared," Tracy told Vanderveen that first day of taping. "I am, too" agreed Matt. "I am scared because I am in a wheelchair, and I do worry about some of the things I won't be able to do with my kids." What followed was an emotional and oftentimes inspiring look into the lives of a quadriplegic confined to a life without the use of his limbs and the wife who refused to give up on him, or their dreams of a happy family.
"This was not an easy process at all for Matt and Tracy," says Vanderveen. "The ups and downs they went through over the course of the pregnancy were intense and deeply personal. But in the end, I think this is a story any parent will be able to identify with."
"Matt and Tracy Keil: An American Story" will air on 9NEWS Saturday, April 23rd at 6:00pm and again later that evening at 9:30pm on My20.
Chris Vanderveen has been with 9NEWS since 2002. The winner of 2 dozen Heartland Emmy awards, Chris won a regional Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2008 which included reporting on Matt Keil's rehabilitation efforts. In 2009, the close relationship Chris worked to establish with veterans and veterans organizations resulted in the National Disabled American Veterans honoring Chris with its Bugle Award for outstanding coverage of issues relevant to returning servicemen and women. Chris has covered the military at 9NEWS since the start of the war in Afghanistan.
Corky Scholl is the 2005 Ernie Crisp National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year and winner of multiple Heartland Emmy awards.
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