ABC-TV to Feature Holmgren Trip to Congo

Post a Comment » Written on January 31st, 2006     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

MERCER ISLAND, WA (January 31, 2006) – A network television film crew spent part of this afternoon at the home of Kathy Holmgren, wife of Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, gathering material for a “Person of the Week” segment that will air Friday evening on ABC’s World News Tonight with Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff.

The Holmgrens have captured the attention of news media throughout North America and around the world as Kathy prepares to leave Thursday for the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a medical mission team, while her husband prepares to lead his Seahawks to the Super Bowl on Sunday. One of the Holmgren daughters, Calla, an obstetrician, also is part of the medical team.

Karawa Hospital ward “They (ABC) and other media are fascinated that Kathy’s going to the end of the earth instead of being at the center of the universe,” said Ann Brooks, a former television news journalist and currently executive director of communications for Northwest Medical Teams. “I mean, it’s the Super Bowl for crying out loud and her husband is the Seahawks coach!” she says with a sense of amusement in her voice.

A friend of the Holmgrens, Brooks was en route to their home for the ABC taping when we spoke by telephone this afternoon. The “Person of the Week” segment focusing on Kathy Holmgren will air during the news broadcast, which begins at 5:30 p.m. CST (check local listings for broadcast times in other zones).

Kathy, a nurse, has served on the Northwest Medical Teams board for three years and the Holmgren family has been personally involved in raising funds and supporting the work of Northwest Medical over the years. “They are really generous people,” Brooks says of the Holmgrens. “Kathy’s there with her collection jar just like the others when we are raising funds to send medical teams. She also works with the wives of Seahawks players – the connection with the Seahawks team has been very helpful to our work,” she adds.

A second ABC film crew is scheduled to arrive tomorrow to tape a segment for the Super Bowl pre-game show, expected to air between 4 and 4:30 p.m. EST, according to Brooks who has been working with ABC on scheduling details, as has Jim Sundholm, director of the Paul Carlson Partnership.

And, plans are nearing completion to have an ABC film crew on the ground in Africa to interview Kathy on Sunday, Brooks says. “We’re working out the details – Jim (Sundholm) has been especially helpful with that,” she notes, adding that it is not a simple matter to transport an entire film crew into the remote and difficult-to-reach area surrounding the Karawa hospital in northwestern Congo, where the medical team will be working. The trip to Karawa is under the auspices of the Covenant Church of Congo, the Evangelical Covenant Church, Northwest Medical Teams, and the Paul Carlson Partnership. The accompanying photo shows Dr. Roger Thorpe (center), a retired Covenant medical missionary, in one of the Karawa hospital wards during an earlier visit.

It is not certain if the film crew will be able to broadcast anything live from Congo on Sunday, but a backup plan could include taping material to be shown on a delayed basis.

The commitment to participate in the medical team visit was made before it was clear that the Seahawks would be in the Super Bowl. However, “there never was a question about Kathy and Calla going,” says Brooks. “They knew this is where they needed to be.” And it is that depth of commitment that has caught the media’s attention. Stories have been appearing in major daily newspapers from coast to coast in recent days, and visits to coverage in this online Covenant news report also have spiked in recent days as browsers search for online material about the trip.

The 17-day medical training mission involves an eight-person team of physicians and former missionaries. To read an earlier story containing more detail about the trip, including the kind of work to be done and those who will be participating, please see Medical Mission to Congo.

“We at Northwest Medical are happy to be partnering with the Covenant and a big team of volunteers to make this happen,” Brooks says of the upcoming trip. “We also are thankful that the Super Bowl focus can result in additional help for Congo – how amazing is that!”

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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