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Veteran from Saco and mother featured in documentary film

SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A documentary film that prominently features a mother and son from Saco will air on public television stations across the country Friday and Saturday.

The film is called "Searching for Home: Coming Back from War." In it, Pam Payuer and her son Michael bare their souls in a very personal way, to shed light on this important topic.

“It really ripped me right back to that point of finding out he was blown up,” Pam said.

The film is an unflinching and raw looks at the horrors of war and what servicemen and women go through when they try to leave that behind and come home.

Her son's experience led Pam to establish the Wounded Heroes of Maine Program. She is a tireless advocate for veterans and their families, spending seven days a week for much of the year raising money for them.

While serving in Iraq, her son Michael was caught in several attacks, suffering head, neck, back and leg injuries. It's not the physical scars from the attacks that bother him the most. His mother said it's losing those who were close to him. One hundred and twelve members of his unit would die on the battlefield.

“Our first lost was my wingman gunner John Barter. He got killed Dec. 23, 2006, and they just kept piling up after that," Michael said in the documentary.

“They make a vow to themselves to bring their brothers home alive and that didn’t happen,” Pam said.

Pam and her son never feel sorry for themselves. If Michael could go back and serve, he would, without hesitation. For Pam, she has found a calling that helps her make some sense of all this.

“Out of his experience was born a program that has served hundreds of veterans and their families, so I have no regrets,” she said.

Through that program, Pam Payuer is now working to make sure no veterans or their family members go hungry this Thanksgiving.

Besides airing on PBS stations Friday and Saturday, a special screening of the film will be held Sunday afternoon at the SMMC Midcoast campus in Brunswick followed by a panel discussion.