DAYTON, Ohio, July 31, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The pro-life television series Facing Life Head-On, a project of Life Issues Institute, has won its second Regional Emmy Award amid three nominations for its documentary on fallen U.S. soldiers and the families that love them.
The winning episode was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and received the award for excellence in the category of Specialty Programming - Military Programs.
In 2010, Facing Life Head-On received an Emmy in the category of interview and discussion programs. Facing Life Head-On is broadcasted to over 100 million homes on various television networks.
Life Issues Institute Brad Mattes, who hosts the series, says this year’s award was particularly moving since it went to an episode close to his heart. Mattes and his wife Ellen are the parents of a soldier deployed to Iraq.
“I asked for a lot of prayer because I didn’t want to break down sobbing during the interviews, which I was very close to doing several times,” said Mattes in a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.com Tuesday. “But it was very important that their stories be told.”
The two-part episode “A Lifetime Sacrifice” tells the stories of love and loss from three military families and their soldiers, two of which lost their lives overseas, while a third came home a double amputee. One young wife told the story of her total devastation upon losing her husband, followed by extraordinary consolation days later upon learning she was carrying their second child.
“When I was notified that he had died, I was also grieving all that we had hoped for, and all the things we were looking forward to. It kind of brought a little peace of that back,” said Nicki Bunting, whose husband, Brian “Bubba” Bunting, died only two weeks after visiting home. “I call him my little miracle baby ... I’m so blessed to have him.”
Mattes, who received the award at a ceremony Monday night, said it was “pretty exhilarating” to win a second time - even if the shock had worn off with the first Emmy.
“I guess we were a little surprised by the first one in 2010, to think a pro-life program would be acknowledged on that level. Once we broke through that glass ceiling, or brick wall however you want to say it, I guess we’re less surprised,” said Mattes. “Our goal all along with the program was to do it well, or not do it at all ... so we made sure that we had the resources, and abilities, and talented people to do it.”
Although Mattes is proud of his whole series, he says he was hoping that “A Lifetime Sacrifice” would make the grade to honor the lives of those who had fallen.
“This is the one that I prayed would get an award if the others didn’t,” he said. The pro-life leader said that he pointed out to the audience Monday night how the the families’ heart-rending stories manifest the sanctity of life: their soldiers, he said, sacrificed while “securing our rights. The most fundamental of course, is the right to live, the right to life.”
Mattes in a statement Monday said that the award “is for the entire pro-life movement because we’re all working together to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.”
But perhaps even more, for Mattes, the award belongs to the families themselves.
“I asked all the guests two questions that were the same, and I asked them, was it worth it? And they all said yes,” he said. “And then I asked them if there was one thing they feared most, and they all said that they feared having their soldier forgotten.
“It gave me all the more motivation to make sure we do a program that would not get forgotten.”
Click here to watch the Facing Life Head-on episode “A Lifetime Sacrifice.”