Twenty years ago, I came to Toledo as evening anchor, not knowing what to expect. I didn't know anyone here, but I was following my heart to continue building my career in television news.
I expected to stay three or four years and then hopefully get a job in my hometown: Washington, DC. But a funny thing happened on the way to a bigger market: I fell in love with northwest Ohio!
I also fell in love with the Mud Hens manager, Tom Runnells, and married him at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1997. You were there with me for that.
You were also there when Tom and I had a baby girl, Riley, in July of 2000.
I want to thank my family. This job require some sacrifice to do it right. It's not flexible. You have to be here when it's news time, you have to be available on weekends and holidays. Tom and Riley have given up things to support my job here. I love them for that, and now I'll be there for them.
Thank you for taking an interest in and sharing my personal life with me over the past 20 years. Thanks, also, for sharing your stories with me. I have had some incredible assignments over the years, interviewing presidents, first ladies and other celebrities.
I've sung with the Beach Boys, flown with the Blue Angel, and made a guest appearance on a soap opera during my two decades here. And you've watched, commented, criticized and complimented me along the way. All of your feedback has made me a better anchor and reporter. Thank you.
I want to thank those of you who have trusted me with your stories over the years, many times at very vulnerable times in your life. I have to specifically mention the foster children I featured over 17 years on our Home for Keeps segments. It takes a lot of courage as a child to talk about wanting a forever family. I'm so proud of the awareness we raised and the children who found homes because of our weekly segment. I have heard from several of them over the past few weeks as they found out I was leaving.
I also want to thank all the brave women and men who shared their breast cancer experiences with me. My involvement with the Northwest Ohio Komen Race for the Cure has been an amazing experience, and what we've built together as a community in raising money and awareness to fight this disease has completely inspired me. Thank you to everyone who has shared the journey with me.
I'm so grateful to CJ Beutien and Mel Stebbins, the news director and general manager who changed my life when they took a chance hiring a 28-year-old girl from Virginia to play such a major role at WTOL. They've both moved on, but I have always tried to live up to their expectations in this job.
I want to thank my coworkers as well. You see many of us on TV every night, but I couldn't do my job without all the amazing people here who work behind the scenes both in our newsroom and our business office. They are the glue that keeps this place going – amazing talents who deserve to be appreciated and valued.
I have worked with amazing co-anchors. Jeff Heitz took me under his wing and taught me so much about this area and about journalistic integrity. Bill Hormann and Terry Thill were also terrific partners (Terry liked to coordinate our outfits each day. I loved that about him!).
Most recently, Emilie Voss joined me at the anchor desk at 5:30. There has been no official announcement about who will take over for me, but Emilie has certainly proven she is worth of the job and I hope you all will wrap your arms around her like you did with me 20 years ago. She is special.
Dan Cummins and I have worked on some amazing special together, covering the UT Rockets in the Las Vegas Bowl years ago and covering the Jamie Farr Golf Tournament together over the years – great memories.
Robert Shiels has let me, and only me, call him Bobby all these years. He is an incredible talent, amazingly accurate. We've been together for nearly 20 years as coworkers and friends.
But I think the partnership everyone will remember is Chrys and Jerry. Some of you have described us as ‘peanut butter and jelly,' ‘Lucy and Ricky.' I call him my work husband and we have had a special chemistry on air through the years. Jerry is one of the most talented interviewers, anchors and storytellers I've ever known. He has made me a better professional. I love you, Jer.
It will be tough for me to not see my coworkers on a daily basis because they're my family, too. I love them all dearly.
It will also be difficult for me to lose you. WTOL has the most amazing viewers. I have truly enjoyed all our interactions over the years. You have opened your hearts to me, invited me into your homes each night, and I can never thank you enough for that.
I don't know yet where I'll be working next, but I'm not leaving town, so please don't stop saying hello at the grocery store, or the UT women's basketball games. We can also stay connected through Facebook and Twitter. I love the camaraderie we've shared.
I came here 20 years ago to make a difference in this community, and I hope I've accomplished that. I hope your life is better or happier in some small way because you included me in it. I know my life has been richer and more blessed because of you. All I can say is thank you.