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‘Everybody has a story’

Author Kevin Tuerff (right) poses with actor Chad Kimball (left), who portrayed him in the hit-musical “Come From Away.”
Author Kevin Tuerff (right) poses with actor Chad Kimball (left), who portrayed him in the hit-musical “Come From Away.”

It’s safe to say Kevin Tuerff will never forget his experiences in Gander — the town has shown him enough kindness to fill a book.

Tuerff, the inspiration for a character in the celebrated musical “Come From Away,” will travel the province as he showcases his book, “Channel of Peace: Stranded in Gander on 9-11.”

“It feels like coming into a second home,” Tuerff said about his upcoming trip.

Tuerff has 13 stops planned across the province and is encouraging people to come out and share their stories with him. He will be in Gander Aug. 4-5, with stops in St. John’s, Lewisporte and Fogo Island.

Although he is honoured to have his story told in the Broadway show, Tuerff said people still had lots of questions, eager for more stories. The result is his book, a first-person chronicle of what it was like to be unexpectedly dropped into Gander.

On 9-11, Tuerff was travelling from Paris to New York.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got more stories that aren’t in the musical,’” said Tuerff.

For example, one story relayed in the book is that at one point, passengers were put back onto a plane and returned to France, which he described as a gruelling three days.

“We should of just stayed in Gander,” he said with a laugh.

Tuerff explained that he was excited to get back to Newfoundland, both to hear more stories from locals and to experience some of the province’s attractions.

“I’ve met so many people who, indirectly, had a role in helping me. Everybody has a story,” said Tuerff.

Given the political situation in the United States, Tueff hopes Americans will learn from the generous example set by Newfoundlanders.

When asked what he’s looking forward to most, Tuerff voiced his wish to participate in a Newfoundland tradition: he’s looking to experience his first kitchen party.

 

Twitter: @joshrjhealey

josh.healey@ganderbeacon.ca

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