A federal agency investigating the link between veterans cancer and a leaking nuclear reactor found years of key records documenting exposure have been lost.
NEW YORK - NewsChannel5 Chief Investigator Ron Regan and his team were honored Monday in New York City after winning a national Peabody Award for a series of reports.
The event was held at the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel and hosted by Patrick Stewart.
Regan and his investigative team were among 38 recipients of the 71st Annual Peabody Awards announced April 4 by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners were chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for the year 2011.
The award was for Regan's reports on "Operation Deep Freeze," which connected increased cancer rates among veterans at McMurdo Naval station in Antarctica. The stories aired in November 2010.
"When you have a corporate ownership like Scripps that puts a premium on quality journalism, and a general manager and news director who support that every step of the way -- this is what can happen," said Regan.
The wife of a veteran called Regan after her husband passed away and asked him to probe the death of her husband and other veterans who contracted cancer. The investigation took Regan across the country in pursuit of finding answers for the military members who needed medical help.
"We are very grateful to the Navy veterans who served their country and allowed us to tell their story when no one in government or the military would listen to them. On behalf of them -- and 130 of our colleagues at WEWS who contributed in big and small ways -- our thanks to the Peabody Board for this very special recognition," said Regan.
As a result of this investigation, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is pressing Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki to look into whether veterans are eligible for service related compensation due to radiation exposure at McMurdo. And, Sen. Brown doesn't rule out eventually calling for congressional hearings into what the Navy knew about radiation leaks and how the plant functioned.
The intent of the Peabody Awards is to recognize the most outstanding achievements in electronic media, including radio, television and cable. The Award is determined by one criterion – "Excellence."
Federal hearings prompted by an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into radiation exposure among McMurdo Navy veterans are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
A Navy veteran who helped trigger a federal probe into a leaking nuclear plant at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, has died of cancer just weeks before a government report on radiation exposure is due to be released.
Journalism judges around the country have honored Chief Investigator Ron Regan with the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and regional Emmy awards in recent weeks, but something Regan received Thursday may be his most prized keepsake of all.