SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a sad day for everyone here at WTOC. Our long time friend Craig Harney passed away over the weekend at the age of 65.
Craig had many talents. But a lesser known talent of Craig’s was playing the guitar.
Ten years ago, our morning show put together a band to play a concert at Wild Wings to raise money for the Children's Hospital.
Craig was the lead guitarist in our band.
“And even though, I had no musical talent, I knew we could pull it off because Craig was on stage with us,” said Anchor Mike Cihla. “He made you feel like you could do anything because he had your back.”
“Everyone here on stage is part of the WTOC family, and everybody is so talented up here. So let’s introduce you to some of our band members. I want to mention this guy over here, he does a little bit of everything here at WTOC. I go out in public and there’s two questions I get, How’s Doug doing? Second question is, oh yeah I work with Craig Harney. Hardest working man in Savannah, Craig Harney right here ladies and gentleman,” said Cihla to the crowd on May, 15 2009.
“Craig Harney is one of the nicest people you’ve ever seen in your life," said former WTOC Anchor Doug Weathers. "He knows every aspect of the station and he knows how to make people smile.He’s totally committed to the community. That’s just the first thing in mind every time he tells the story.”
Craig was not only dedicated to Savannah, he was also dedicated to his faith and his family.
The Savannah native and WTOC’s Creative Arts Director is already missed.
One of Craig’s great talents, and passions, was the live parades that we bring you from all across our region. From Saint Patrick’s Day in Savannah to onion festivals and more, Craig was the consummate pro. He brought the fun to you at home.
He put the cameras in just the right spot, the microphones in the right spot and the people in the right spot. And for an hour of television, he painted a picture of small town South Georgia that Norman Rockwell might not touch. For the people who hosted it all and counted on WTOC as their partner, Craig was almost as much of their family as he was of ours.
This was his spot almost every time, holding the camera and coaxing a wave. He helped plan the show, then lead from the front.
“When he came to town, we never had a thought that Craig wouldn’t make Brooklet look good,” said Ellen Perkins with the Brooklet Peanut Festival. “He was always just so positive.”
Whether he ran a camera or directed from the truck, he was as much a part of the action as the Shriners who filled the street.
“When you’re doing live TV, it’s a little intimidating. You have a town full of people and you don’t know what to expect, you never know when a tractor’s going to break down. Craig was always there,” said Perkins.
Craig’s work ethic was second to none. He saw each parade as a reflection on the station, no matter the size or the season.
“We have a lot of people and we ask “where are you from?”. And they tell us they drove up because they’d seen us on WTOC. And we credit that to Craig,” said Randy Newman with the Brooklet Peanut Festival.
A credit he would modestly dismiss or pass along to others. But those of us blessed to work with him knew - the quality of the show came from the hardest working person in the crew.
So, for all the festivals and parades to come, large or small, we’ll all have Craig’s presence for each and every one.