Once upon a time in the world of local television news, a group of people came together under one newsroom roof and something akin to magic happened.
We became family.
We lived together in the 'house' known as WKRG-TV. Like many families, some members came and went-- always leaving their handprint on our hearts. Others were in the mix for the long haul--committed to not only covering local news with integrity, responsibility and hard work---but also with a lot of fun! Laughter was a staple in 'our house.'
One of those long-haul, and most beloved, family members was a somewhat shy, breathtakingly honest, highly-principled, all-around-good-guy named Leon Petite. I've been writing a lot about Leon in recent days, because not only was he special to his WKRG family, he became special to thousands of people in south Alabama and beyond, as he covered news in their communities with compassion, ethics, and quite often with his unique down-home humor.
There's nothing funny about the battle Leon finds himself in today. Like too many others, he is fighting the beast we know as "Cancer." His surgery for osteosarcoma was last week. Before his surgery he sat down with me to share his thoughts on his diagnosis, his outlook for the future, his concern for others with this disease, and his faith in God. This is the first part of that conversation.
I hear that, as corporate America marches on, the "newsroom magic" that the WKRG gang of the 1980's and 1990's experienced doesn't happen too often these days. It makes what we had, and the people who became, and forever will be, a part of our lives even more cherished.
Leon is one of those people. He had something important to say back then. He has something important to say today. Please listen, and say a prayer for Leon.