Sunday, September 4, 2011


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Bob Purman, Milwaukee, is a Washington Island home owner.  He is, by profession, a director and cinematographer represented by Moxie Studios, New York City.  Those varied connections recently came into play for a 9-11 tribute.

Bob had been asked if he would like to volunteer his production services by participating in a 9-11 tribute, a rush project that would be filmed by six different directors from all over the country in late summer.   150 people were then interviewed, including seven on Washington Island.  The accumulated raw footage was later edited by the tribute's producer, and several seconds of ferry captain Joel Gunnlaugsson make the final cut.   Joel is featured at the wheel of the ferry, a clip that follows Samuel Jackson, movie actor.

The concept for this tribute started six or seven years ago by families and friends of victims, and   according to Purman,  "They wanted to change a day of mourning into one that would also recommit people to service and remembrance, based on concern and unity brought about by 9-11."

Purman had been contacted by phone to participate while he was staying on Washington Island, and when the tribute's producers learned of his location, they thought that an island might provide a distinctive contrast to interviews being filmed in urban settings.

Nationally, each interview was conducted in a similar manner.  Questions asked were:  "Where were you on 9-11 when you first heard about the terrorist attacks?" Then, in response to the question of personal, ongoing commitment to remember 9-11: "What will you do?"

Joel's response to the latter question was, "I will continue to be a volunteer fireman."  Other responses  included prayer, a commitment to a non-profit organization, forgiveness, support of U.S. military troops, and so forth.    A video clip can be seen at the foot of the web page on this site:

Bob and his wife, Yannique, who is a production manager, have two sons, Sawyer and Leo.  Prior to owning a home on Figenschau Bay, the Purmans sailed often to Washington Island's harbors.   In their spare time, Bob and Yannique's interest in hard cider has led them to the creation of a commercial production facility near Ellison Bay using locally grown apples.   Bob was in line for the ferry this morning when I spoke with him,  behind the wheel of his red and white Willys.

Many people have seen the 9-11 tribute on national network broadcast as a public service information piece.  A still-photo montage also appeared in full-page media releases in magazines such as in Time Magazine, featuring Joel and those who also appeared in the video.

 -  Dick Purinton

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