I've never met Bob Woodruff, but in covering the story for "Anderson Cooper 360," I now feel like I know him. Every phone call I made today to interview people for our story revealed good things. A natural leader. A really smart guy. The universal favorite among his coworkers at ABC. My assignment was to do a story about Bob Woodruff the man, not Bob Woodruff the journalist. As my senior producer called it, the "kitchen sink" piece.
So we hunted down Woodruff's high school lacrosse coach outside Detroit, Michigan. I found out Woodruff went to Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School where he was captain of the lacrosse team and the ski team. He was also a darn good soccer player. His coach Charlie Shaw told me Bob instantly turned heads because he was a very confident and striking fellow. He never bid for attention. He always deflected attention elsewhere. He was a very gracious young man and always looked to bring in those who were on the periphery.
We also tracked down a partner at a law firm Woodruff worked at before becoming a television reporter and anchor. Steve Sherman of Shearman and Sterling in San Francisco told me he was watching CNN when he first learned his friend had been injured. Just a few weeks ago, he had sent a note to Woodruff congratulating him on his new job of co-anchor for ABC World News Tonight. He had no idea his friend could be in this much danger. He compared what happened to Woodruff to a Greek tragedy.
And finally, we spoke with ABC News Correspondent David Muir. He and Woodruff spent a few weeks together in New Orleans. Muir says Woodruff was always the first one out chasing a story. He remembered the two were asleep in the front seat of a car. They were rocked by an explosion. Muir had barely opened his eyes but Woodruff was already out the car door and on the story. He says: "You think you run fast; Bob always runs faster."
Woodruff's passion for helping people see the world was evident even back in his high school days. In his high school yearbook, he quoted Henry David Thoreau: "I wish to live deliberately,...and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."