CNN’s Hometown Heroes

I recently completed two days of shooting for CNN’s Hometown Heroes with Anderson Cooper. It will air over Thanksgiving weekend.

The shoot was coordinated by Loki Films in NYC. Rachel Grady wasCNN production team from Loki Films. L-R, Ted Pio Roda, CNN photographer, Rachel Grady, director/producer, and  Julia Dengel, DP director/producer, and Julia Dengel was director of photography. Both were extremely accomplished and professional. Loki Films normally works on documentaries– some have appeared on programs like PBS’ Independent Lens. Their current projects include the Saudi Arabia Youth Project for MTV, and “Freakonomics:The Movie.” Their production “Jesus Camp” won the special jury award at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award.

The subject was Jordan Thomas, who is an amazing young man. Jordan lost both legs below the knee in a boating accident. He was very fortunate to have survived, thanks to the fact that his mother and father are both doctors. While recovering in the hospital, he learned that most insurance policies limit coverage for prosthetics to $5000. His cost $24,000, and he’s on his third set, since young people grow out of them… not unlike a pair of shoes.

Within two weeks he had started the Jordan Thomas Foundation to help underinsured and uninsured families buy prosthetics for children. Once a candidate

Jordan Thomas

Rachel Grady interviews Jordan Thomas for CNN

is selected, the foundation commits to them until they are eighteen, meaning they will purchase several sets of limbs. We followed Noah–  a six-year-old beneficiary- through the Creative Discovery Museum here in Chattanooga. He went from basically a peg-leg to a real leg with an articulated knee. Where before he couldn’t run with other kids or ride a bike, he’s now EXTREMELY mobile and active… we all had a hard time keeping up.

I’ve just learned that Jordan has been selected as one of the top ten CNN Heroes, which means he’ll be traveling to Hollywood over Thanksgiving weekend for a celebration event hosted by Anderson Cooper. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

Consider a donation to the Jordan Thomas Foundation, or help out by voting for CNN’s Hero of the Year here

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