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June 23, 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner looking for old friend

LOS ANGELES -- Fifty-one years ago, Paul Brinkley-Rogers met a woman named Vicky in Taiwan when he was a reporter for a U.S. military newspaper.

Due to Vicky's encouragement, Brinkley-Rogers stayed committed to writing and finally won a Pulitzer Prize. Now, he is hoping to find the old friend that he has lost contact with to thank her for her confidence in him.

"I'd feel good if I could say 'thank you' to her," said the veteran journalist, who was a member of the Miami Herald's specialized reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for coverage of the Elian Gonzalez child custody battle.

Brinkley-Rogers, who is now retired and lives in Arizona, has had decades of journalism experience, including 11 years as a correspondent for Newsweek magazine and seven years as reporter and bureau chief at The Arizona Republic.

His journalism experience began in 1959 as a reporter for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper published in Tokyo for the U.S. military in the Far East.

It was during a six month assignment to Taiwan in 1962 that he first met Vicky during a gathering at the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command headquarters on Taipei's Zhongshan North Road.

Because it was a very long time ago, Brinkley-Rogers said he can only vaguely remember that the woman, surnamed Lee, was the widow of an Air Force pilot with three children.

He recalled that Vicky often discussed literature with him and encouraged him to continue writing. They usually met each other in a park in Taipei and later traveled twice together to Wulai, Taipei County and Taichung.

He stressed that Vicky's friendship and encouragement was one of the driving forces behind his nonstop pursuit of writing that eventually won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Showing dozens of old photos taken with her, Brinkley-Rogers said he wishes very much to visit Taiwan again to see his old friend.

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