SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - WTOC is celebrating 65 years of broadcasting this year. Of those 65 years, one man brought you news from here and from our loved ones around the world for 33 years.
Many of you grew up watching Mike Manhatton. He is the backbone of WTOC, with decades of dedication to us and to our viewers.
“I was definitely one of his biggest fans,” said Mike’s wife, Mariella Manhatton.
Mariella Manhatton watched Mike every night, and sometimes that was the only time she saw him during the week, but it was no secret that Mike had two loves - Mariella and WTOC.
“I knew the news ran through his blood,” she said. “He was being sent overseas to Baghdad, and he would tell me, he was so sad, and said, ‘Honey, I’m so sad. I’m sorry I have to go, the station makes me do it,' but he was getting ready like a kid putting toys in a bag. He was getting ready to go and he was so excited. He loved having to go on assignments like that, so I always thought that was cute. He played the role of sad husband, but he was ready to go."
Mike loved working the night shift because of the ‘go, go, go,' often arriving to the worst of the worst at the same time as first responders.
“He was good to his word, and that made a big impression on me,” said Gary Glemboski, retired Savannah Police sergeant.
Former Savannah Police sergeant, Gary Glemboski, remembers one night like it was yesterday.
“He didn’t have his camera in his hand, but the first thing - because he knew me pretty well, was - ‘What do you need? What can I do? We need some light.’ He had a brand new camera with a bright light. He never shot any video until all officers were off scene and the victims were gone, and then he did his bit.”
January 13, 2008, Mike was diagnosed with colon cancer. The Sugar Refinery exploded less than a month later, in February.
“He was on it, and he did great. You could tell he had lost some weight, but he was ready to go. That’s the stuff that made him good. He felt useful, he felt purposeful there. He felt like he was doing a service to the community.”
“He kind of grew up with a lot of us in Savannah, and I never heard anyone - especially in law enforcement - we’re sensitive to the media; I never heard anyone in law enforcement say anything bad about him,” Glemboski said.
It wasn’t just a slogan for Manhatton.
“We value your trust, and we’ll continue to work around the clock to earn it.”
Mike was still earning it a month before he died from his second bout with colon cancer.
“He worked up until the last bit. He was all about commitment to his job. It’s what drove him every day. It’s what he loved. It’s his passion.”
If you’d like to take a look back at the history of our station, click here.