Jack Williams’ Letter To WBZ-TV Viewers
BOSTON (CBS) – I came in the spring of 1975, during the first year of court-ordered busing. It was an emotional time and a way to quickly get your feet wet in the intensity of reporting in an area where news is watched and highly competitive.
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Three years later, the Blizzard of ’78 hit, and I slept in my office for most of the week– trapped by the blizzard, but was able to anchor on air and report 18 hours a day. The storm was life-changing for New Englanders and for this reporter.
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In 1980, a shakeup on-air and I ended up being teamed with Liz Walker, Bob Lobel, Bruce Schweogler and Joyce Kulhawik. It was magic and the ratings again soared.
In 1981, I created Wednesday’s Child as a way to say thank you to the people of New England for all their support. At the time we had no idea it would be so successful and that Marci and I would end up raising over $10 million to help these financially-strapped agencies and group homes dealing with special needs children. Dorcus Hardy, an Undersecretary of Health and Human Services found out about our efforts and flew to Boston, asking me if they could share the idea of this program with the nation. I agreed and a brochure was sent out to all TV stations explaining what was being done here and suggesting they also try it. Over 100 TV stations eventually did their version of Wednesday’s Child, but it all started here in Boston.
In 1984, my dream assignment was Normandy for the 40th anniversary of D-Day landings in WWII. I would return ten years later, this time surrounded by New England veterans who fought in the lengthy battle to get a foothold in Fortress Europe. They were the real heroes and their memories were clear and frightening.
Coming to work at WBZ always has been a joy. To this day, the thrill of live anchoring and reporting is very stimulating to me.
We should all be extremely proud of the way our region responded last year when two bombs shattered our confidence temporarily and killed and injured so many of our people. Boston Strong became nationally famous, because it was true. Rather than whine, we got mad. My colleagues and I were deeply honored to be given a Peabody and a DuPont for our coverage. That’s the highest accolades that any station can receive.
The last 39 plus years have flown by. It has been such an honor to be invited into people’s homes night after night. I am still employed at the station and will continue with our weekly Wednesday’s Child segments. But it’s time to slow down a little to enjoy my wife and family.
At age 70, I know life is finite. But, if the big story happens again, I won’t be far away and will be ready to clip on the mike and do what I love to do best: bring the news to the people of New England.
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