Retired Colonel Thanks Today's Soldiers With Special Performance

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Actors from the WTCT Radio Players company got an early start honoring veterans Thursday morning.

The volunteers performed a searing story at the Colmery-O'Neil Veterans Affairs Medical Center, about an injured World War II soldier who had lost his face.

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For some of the performers of this radio play, the acting felt a little more real. The cast of the WTCT Radio Players, a company of the Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy, included two veterans.

One of them was Eddie Shirron, a retired colonel of the U.S. Army.

"I have been in combat, I have been with soldiers who got wounded and killed, so it resonates deeply," Shirron said.

Shirron read the role of the severely injured soldier from the episode "The Face" of the 1944 series Assignment: Home." He was injured himself in Vietnam decades ago.

He served in the army for 31 years and said he constantly thinks about the men and women who are in harms way.

Unfortunately, he said, not everyone does the same.

"In today's war, well it's out of sight, out of mind," he said. "So we thought that by coming here to the VA and bringing a piece that they could have a sense for, a feel for, would be an appropriate thing to do and recognize their service."

Joanna Daffron, director of the WTCT Radio Players, has volunteered at the VA medical center for two years.

She said the piece is a gritty account of a soldier trying to heal.

She said hopes the piece they performed is more than a simple "Thank you."

"It shines some light on them, not just attention, but some understanding of what they've been through, not only when they served their country, but some of the battles they have to wage, once their war was finished."

Daffron said she came out to the VA hospital to help veterans with those struggles. But hearing their stories, she said, she has been the one who has learned from them.


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