SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Craig Harney, a dear friend, colleague, story teller and WTOC family member has passed away at the age of 65.
We spoke to those in the community, from city government to those in business, about their memories of Craig and the impact he had on their lives.
One of the common themes as those we spoke to reflected was that Craig had en extraordinary way of not only telling a story, but finding the human element, the relatable and poignant point that really made all his work special.
“I think the human side that he picks up in anything he does is what makes his work so much... it sets his work apart from a lot of people,” said Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach.
Not long after Mayor Eddie DeLoach’s administration began back in 2016, Craig honed in on one of the Mayor’s new initiatives, the summer work partnership program for teens, Summer 500.
“I think he really took an interest in it, and it was close to me, so it meant a lot to me the way he came about doing the job and the way he took an interest in it,” said DeLoach.
Both members of the Rotary Club, DeLoach says he got to see the various ways Craig served the community he loved.
“That’s the biggest thing about him, is his desire to do for others was second to none, anywhere. And I think that’s the biggest legacy he’s got,” he said.
Visit Savannah’s President, Joe Marinelli, says Craig was one of the first people he met and befriended when he came to Savannah 12 years ago, and recalled one of their first projects together, a collaboration to highlight the Craft Brew Festival.
“We didn’t know what to make of it. We had done some homework and we reached out to Craig and the team and said, hey help us out here a little bit. And he worked hard to give us the exposure that we needed, got us some great camera angles that really made a small festival look really big. And that was helpful for the next year when we were promoting the event,” he said.
“Really, the thing that stands out to me about Craig is three things. Number one, first of all, a class act all the time. Really a special, special gentleman. Number two, the ultimate professional, always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And number three, that smile. Always smiling, always doing it with a happy face and a great attitude,” said Marinelli.
Craig also worked very closely with the Children’s Hospital of Savannah at Memorial Health helping to tell the story of the children and families being cared for there.
During one of Craig’s most recent projects, I worked right alongside Craig covering the topping off ceremony at the site of the new Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah at Memorial Health.
“Seeing Craig here with his camera on his shoulder, filming, being a part of that day...and he was so happy to be here and to be a part of it. And really, again, interacting and his questions already ready to tell the story of our exciting story here," said Heather Newsome, Executive Director of the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah at Memorial Health.
Newsome said Craig’s gift for storytelling helped highlight the work they’ve done in the community over the years, like with Children’s Miracle Network.
Newsome said, “He had this amazing ability to be able to tell a story of a child that had been treated here. And I still remember hearing his voice, when I, when you’re watching TV and you hear his voice and you’re like, oh there’s Craig telling a story. He just had an amazing art to be able to do that in a very compassionate way.”
With all the stories he told and lives he touched, we asked Newsome about the legacy she believes Craig leaves behind.
“I think it’ll be his love for this community, quite honestly. He truly loved Savannah, loved to see the growth happening in Savannah. And I think that is his legacy, his goodwill toward the city that he grew up in.”