Send Mike a note.
I never thought I'd ever have a job where I'd have my own body armor, and have to take it with on about half my travels! And won an Emmy Award doing it! But it's sure worked out well, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!
I spend most of my workdays at the computer or on the anchor desk at WTOC, but for nearly the last two decades have traveled with the men and women of our military, all over the world.
It all started back in the 1970's when I needed a hobby / career path in grade school, and I took up still photography, borrowing my dad's cameras and darkroom gear. I started selling photos, and then articles to weekly newspapers around my hometown. In college I realized the newspaper gigs didn't pay well, or frequently enough and I lucked into a part- time television job that eventually turned full-time, and then into a weekend anchor chair as well as reporting.
In 1981 I answered WTOC legendary News Director Doug Weathers' ad in Broadcasting Magazine and came to Savannah as a reporter- photographer. Within a few months I started producing newscasts, and eventually landed the Weekend Anchor job. In 1985 WTOC tapped me to take over THE News at 11:00 and the next year I helped launch THE News at 5:30, which eventually expanded to our current hour-long offering at 5:00pm every weeknight.
But the most interesting is what's happened away from the anchor desk. I've traveled extensively with the Army, Air National Guard and Marine Corps. Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia with the 24th Infantry Division before the first Gulf War. More than a dozen trips to Kuwait. Two to Bosnia with Georgia National Guard units. Afghanistan with the 92nd Engineers. Two different aircraft carriers with Marine Corps Aviation units from Beaufort. And most recently, two separate stays in several places, like Baghdad and Tikrit and Al Asad in Iraq with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division & Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade. Plus accompanying medical missions high in the Andes in Peru with the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia National Guard, and anti- drug missions in the Bahamas with Army Special Operations Aviation helicopter units. Almost always as a one- man- band, shooting the video, doing the interviews, and eventually writing the stories. They're the most important things I've ever done in my career, informing, literally tens of thousands of people about their loved ones, serving far from home in frequently dangerous places.
For one of the Iraq trips, editor extraordinaire Zach Powers and I produced a series of stories and a half- hour show, "Freedom's Warriors." The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored us with a Southeast Regional Emmy Award.
Over the years I've also been honored with Associated Press Awards ranging from Best Spot News to Best Documentary and Best Newscast. The Georgia Department of Defense - Military Division also honored me with The Georgia Commendation Medal for military affairs, in particular, coverage of the 165th Airlift Wing. Videomaker Magazine also named me one of their top ten Videomakers of the Year in 1991.
I also anchor much of our live special event coverage, from in the crowds along the Saint Patrick's Day parade route, to Veteran's Day and more.