Bill's PBS debut

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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While many University of Iowa students have had a cup of coffee or stopped through Wild Bill's Coffee Shop, most don't know about the powerful story behind the hole-in-the-wall establishment.

Minnesota native Bill Sackter was declared "subnormal" at an early age and sent away to an institution because of his "disabilities." After remaining in an institution in Minnesota for 44 years, Sackter followed friend Barry Morrow to Iowa City, where he was put in charge of a small coffee shop. Sackter shortly proved his abilities that had been restricted for the entirety of his life and was named "Iowa's Handicapped Person of the Year" in 1977.

Today, Wild Bill's Coffee Shop employs 12 to 15 persons with disabilities and is a story that proves one man's enduring accomplishments through a lifetime of hardships.

Sackter's story was made public in 1981 for the made-for-television movie Bill, featuring Mickey Rooney as Bill, and Dennis Quaid as Barry Morrow.

Then, Sackter's story was made into a documentary called A Friend Indeed — The Bill Sackter Story, which gave viewers a chance to experience Sackter's journey firsthand.

Director Lane Wyrick is now seeking additional assistance to get this inspirational documentary out to PBS stations, and he encourages people to take part in the Bill Sackter kick-start pledge.

Funds dedicated to the pledge will be put toward footage rights and closed captioning among many additional aspects for PBS broadcast. The current pledge is at just under $7,822, with 99 backers and three days to go in order to reach the pledged goal of $15,000 by 10 p.m. on Feb. 23.

For more information, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lane-wyrick/a-friend-indeed-the-bill-sackter-story-tv-broadcas and make a pledge today.

— by Jennifer Hoch

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