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CNN to Debut First ‘Heroes’ Documentaries

cnn heroesCNN is adding to its “Heroes” franchise, creating original documentaries telling the stories of past winners: 2009 and 2010 top 10 heroes Doc Hendley and Dan Wallrath.

“Operation Finally Home: A CNN Heroes Special Presentation” airs next Sunday, December 8 at 8pmET, and follows Wallrath as he builds homes for the families of two returning disabled veterans.

“Having the opportunity to film the CNN Heroes documentary was very moving and rewarding for us at Operation FINALLY HOME,” Wallrath tells TVNewser. “This is a huge opportunity for us to get our mission out and have the rest of America understand what wounded service members, their families and the widows of the fallen are facing when returning home.  We would not be were we are at as an organization without CNN Heroes!  God bless them!”

“Wine to Water: A CNN Heroes Special Presentation” debuts Sunday, December 15 at 8 pmET, and follows Hendley’s journey from a refugee camp in Uganda to an impoverished Colombian village, where he tries to save the lives of children and their families.

“After showcasing these extraordinary individuals for seven years, I am thrilled that we are going in-depth for an incredible journey with two of our most compelling Heroes,” said Kelly Flynn, CNN Heroes senior executive producer.

This year’s CNN Heroes airs Sunday night at 8pmET.

Press release after the jump.

 CNN Heroes Special Presentations Tackle Veteran Housing and Water Security

“Operation Finally Home” and “Wine to Water” Premiere in December on CNN

 Improvised explosive devices. Roadside bombs. Close combat. Many men and women leave the United States to serve in the military to protect their country and face the brutal side effects of war. Too many return without limbs, emotional stability, jobs or direction.  2010 CNN Hero Dan Wallrath makes a difference in the lives of these wounded soldiers by building them mortgage-free accessible homes.

Millions of people die each year as a result of the absence of clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities, while the most vulnerable population are kids under the age of 5.  This issue touched the heart of 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley, who makes it his mission to save lives by providing clean water to more than 250,000 people in developing nations around the world.

For the first time, CNN and Zero Point Zero Production are producing one-hour specials based on past CNN Heroes, showcasing their extraordinary work and impact. “Operation Finally Home: A CNN Heroes Special Presentation” airs on Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, with re-airs at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., and on Sunday, December 15 at 7 p.m. “Wine to Water: A CNN Heroes Special Presentation” airs Sunday, December 15 at 8 p.m. ET, with re-airs at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., and on Saturday, December 21 at 7 p.m. Both specials will also air on CNN International and CNN en Español.

“After showcasing these extraordinary individuals for seven years, I am thrilled that we are going in-depth for an incredible journey with two of our most compelling Heroes.  Their work is awe-inspiring, the resilience of the people they are helping is amazing, and I know the audience will be moved,” said Kelly Flynn, CNN Heroes senior executive producer.

“Operation Finally Home” features custom homebuilder Dan Wallrath, of Centerville, Texas, who dedicates his life to building homes for disabled veterans.  After meeting a friend’s son who had been injured by a roadside bomb in 2005, Wallrath was inspired to ease the young man’s transition into a new reality with the best tool he had — a customization of his house to make living a disabled life just a little bit easier.  Wallrath says he would love to help every single one of the wounded veterans in the United States, but since that’s not possible, he helps as many as he can.  This special profiles two deserving families, hoping for a new home and a new start.

CNN Hero Doc Hendley travels from a refugee camp in Bundibugyo, Uganda, to a small, impoverished village of La Milagrosa, Colombia, to help save the lives of children and their families in “Wine to Water.”  Inspired by the horrors of the genocide in Darfur region of Sudan, Hendley uses his bartending skills to fundraise and help those in need, when not at home with his family in Boone, North Carolina.  Working hand-in-hand with local communities, his efforts bring clean drinking water and sustainable water systems to people in 16 countries, many of whom would normally drink from swamps, ditches or a standing water source, if available.

Hendley and Wallrath attended this year’s CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, which will air on Sunday, December 1 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. Now in its seventh year, the Peabody Award-winning CNN Heroes tribute show has received more than 50,000 nominations from more than 100 countries and profiled over 200 everyday heroes doing extraordinary work. Voters logged on to to cast votes for many of their favorite Top 10 Heroes to be named Hero of the Year. For more information:

Kelly Flynn is the senior executive producer for CNN and Chris Collins and Lydia Tenaglia are the executive producers for Zero Point Zero Production.

On social media, visit the CNN Heroes page on Facebook and follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter. Additionally, behind-the-scenes CNN Heroes images can be viewed on CNN Heroes’ Instagram account. GetGlue users can “check-in” weekly to CNN Heroes for exclusive limited-edition CNN Heroes stickers.




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