Today Show: Bob Dotson American Story Review
For over 40 years, Bob Dotson has been traveling across America finding the best stories from ordinary people. From Maine to California, Dotson looked high and low for the most revealing stories about the people who make America great, not from the celebrities or from some politician. Dotson traveled to the heartland of America countless times to tell the true tale of America.
Although Dotson told the Today Show telling tales on television can be like writing on smoke, some of his more memorable stories have now been collected into a book, American Story.
Today Show: Bob Dotson’s Most Memorable Americans
In 1972, Bob Dotson began working with NBC and his first story was covering the Munich Olympics, including the terrorist attack that killed two Israeli Olympians. The story changed how he saw news and it made him realize he wanted to tell the stories of what happens “between the bright lights.” He said he finally made a decision to tell the everyman story when a person griped to him that they never see anyone like themselves on TV and they never hear the songs they sing, sung on TV.
One of Dotson’s most memorable stories was about the town of Philipsburg, Montana, a tiny town left standing among ghost towns. Dotson said the town has been able to persevere because of a $2,500 tax every resident paid to fix the schools. The community meant more to them than anything else, said Dotson. They even raised over $40,000 for the school principal after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Another favorite story is about Mark Wellman, a paraplegic man who climbed El Capitan and was the inspiration for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Today Show: Bob Dotson’s Stories
Another story Dotson put in the book is about Bill Sample, a patrolman who has never taken an hour of overtime in his life because he spent his off-time making dreams come true for children. Before there was the Make a Wish Foundation, Sample was giving children whatever they wanted while they could still do it. Whether it be going to Disney World or throwing snowballs outside, Sample made it happen.
Carl Grossman is another person Dotson wrote about. Grossman is one of 10 brothers who fought in WWI and WWII and all of them returned home safely. But not everything was good for Grossman, who had to take a job as a greeter at Walmart when he was 90 because he didn’t have enough money to live. This war hero, who saved hundreds of lives overseas and one woman from a flipped over car, was being forced to work at Walmart.
But why write the book if the stories have already been told? Dotson said he feels like we are “looking for the right answers in the wrong places.”