BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - I'll never forget September 4, 1988. That was the day a young reporter began what he thought would be about a two year stay in south Mississippi.
The reporter was just 22 years old, and a little more than a year out of college. He was from Chicago. But he spent the last five years of his life in mid-Missouri, getting an education, and preparing for the rest of his life.
The rest of his life started with quite a bang. His first story at WLOX-TV was on the beach near Biloxi's lighthouse. Long before the reporter arrived on the coast, a company called Bobbies Bikinis had been selling swimwear out of a van. People constantly flocked around the van. Women modeled the swimwear, and men gawked at the sight.
But, on that particular Sunday, the owners of Bobbies Bikinis decided to close their van doors for good. And the intrepid reporter got assigned the difficult task of reporting on women modeling bikinis on the beach for the last time.
This week, that same reporter was sent to a budget debate in Biloxi. As he sat there, trying to stay awake, he realized this story would be the last one he covered for WLOX News. You see, minutes before he walked out of the TV station, an e-mail announced that the 21 year veteran reporter was just named News Director of WLOX News.
I wish I could find the right words to describe my excitement, my joy, and my trepidation. When you spend almost half your life at a place like WLOX, the people who work there truly become your family members. I have such respect and admiration for the talented professionals who bring you the News for South Mississippi. They're dedicated. They're hard working. And they care about the community we call home.
Our home is an amazing place. It's filled with so much culture, and so much history. And over the last 21 years, I've been blessed to be on the front lines, reporting on the issues that affected our lives.
Now, I get to experience south Mississippi from a different vantage point. I'll be in the office that Dave Vincent occupied for almost three decades. His fingerprints are all over WLOX News. That's why I'm so nervous. Because I don't want to let him down - after all, he's the station's GM, so he's still my boss.
Thank you to all of the people who sent me texts and e-mails this week. Your kind words will never be forgotten.
You may not see me as much on your television sets. But, I'll still be here, just in a different capacity. In my behind the scenes role, I'll provide guidance to the men and women of this terrific news department.
I may not be covering Bobbies Bikinis anymore. And I may not be at city council meetings. But I'm still focused on how WLOX brings you "The News for South Mississippi."