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Former Hostage Loves VOA - 2002-04-03

A VOA Snapshot - Part of VOA's 60th Anniversary Year Coverage

Radio is a personal medium. A broadcaster is as close to you as your radio, even if the broadcaster is half a world away. For radio personalities, the finest moments come when they know they've touched the heart of a listener far away.

VOA's Barbara Klein had such a special moment in 1991. "I am sure that I could call him anytime and he would receive me warmly," she says.

Barbara is talking about professor Thomas Sutherland, an American who had been held hostage in Beirut for six and a half years. For part of that time, he was allowed to listen to the radio, where he found VOA, and Barbara Klein. Shortly after his release, Mr. Sutherland called Barbara.

"It was the Friday after Thanksgiving and the phone rang and I remember picking it up and I recognized the voice; and I said, 'Who is this?' and he said, 'Thomas Sutherland'".

A month later, Mr. Sutherland was a guest on The Magazine Show.

"It's my pleasure to be here after listening to VOA for about two and a half years and particularly to your Magazine Show," Mr. Sutherland said. " I don't think I can tell you how nice that was to hear so many things about America." "To actually hear from someone and find out that somehow the work that you've been doing made a difference in their lives was just overwhelming," says Ms. Klein. "It gave me a great boost to keep on, to keep on working, I guess."

Barbara Klein and Thomas Sutherland stayed in touch for many years.

Snapshots will contine throughout our 60th anniversary year, here at

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