Charlie Gibson's Heroes: Rebuilding Lives and Caring for Others

Gibson remembers two extraordinary characters he profiled during his career.

December 16, 2009, 7:07 PM

Dec. 16, 2009 — -- During Charles Gibson's career at ABC News, he has met an array of unforgettable characters. He's interviewed countless world leaders and major newsmakers --and each week he brings viewers his "Person of the Week."

On tonight's "World News," Gibson singled out two people he met during his career as extraordinary heroes.

"Call them perhaps, particularly memorable," he said on "World News."

The first is Bob Barron. Gibson profiled him for "Primetime" in 2002. Barron spent two decades working at the art of deception as the senior disguise specialist for the CIA.

When Barron retired from the spy agency, he could have made a lot of money in Hollywood. But instead, he turned his extraordinary skills to helping people who were injured in accidents or by illness.

"In simple terms, you build them new faces?" Gibson asked.

"I build them new faces," Barron replied. "Ears ... hands, I can rebuild hands."

Barron created a lab where he built prosthetic devices layer by layer out of silicone, building in pores, painting veins and sewing on eyelashes.

Margaret Boden lost her eye to cancer, and Barron created a prosthesis specially tailored for her. Looking at her, one could not tell which was the real eye and which was Barron's creation.

"Do people give you a second glance when you have your prosthesis in?" Barron asked her.

"They don't even know," she responded.

Gibson's second hero was Kate ter Horst.

"Good Morning America" traveled to Holland in 1989 and producer Steve Cheng suggested that Gibson profile her.

Ter Horst turned her home into a makeshift hospital for British soldiers during the battle of the Arnhem Bridge in World War II. Thousands of British and Polish paratroopers were wounded or killed there.

"Every room was the same, absolutely filled with the wounded ... [down to] the last square centimeter," ter Horst told Gibson. "You couldn't walk."

"Eventually did you have to put some outside as well?" Gibson asked.

"You mean wounded? Outside? Outside were the dead, laid around the house," she replied.

Her husband was forced to bury the dead in the family garden in mass graves.

Painful WWII Memories

She later wrote of that time.

"All around they are dying," she read from her note. "Must they breathe their last breath in such a hurricane? Oh God, give it a moment's silence. Give us quiet."

Ter Horst couldn't finish the paragraph that she had written 45 years earlier. The memories were too real.

But what she had written and couldn't read was stirring: "Give us quiet if only for a short moment so that they at least can die. Grant them a moment's holy silence while they pass on to eternity. It is a great prayer which breathes from us all. Give us silence in this place of death. And again comes the night and again follows the day. We scarcely look up at the dawn."

Bob Barron is still working, still creating prosthetic devices for those in need.

Ter Horst, known by the British soldiers she treated as the "Angel of Arnhem," was killed in an auto accident in 1992.

"It was a privilege to have told their stories -- and so many others over so many years," Gibson said.