Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"The Next Time..."

The “Next Time…”

The “next time” began last spring. Our household has always been a loyal NBC local and network home, especially for news. During the few years prior to all this happening, a new reporter came on board at NBC6-WTVJ, Joel Connable. He came to South Florida, via Los Angeles. He was a good reporter and certainly did his research for each story.

For a while, besides general assignments, Joel also reported for the “CIU-Consumer Investigative Unit.” Some months later, upon the retirement of one of the best anchors in local news, Tony Segretto, Joel was named as the replacement anchor. And as tough as it was to see Tony retire, especially after being one of the calmest voices that broadcast all night long during Hurricane Andrew, Joel started filling those “big shoes” quickly and very well. And somewhere along the way, he also earned himself an Emmy Award in journalism

At some point, Joel surprised the viewers and on-camera, announced that he was a diabetic and very active in the fundraising efforts of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His story was geared toward young adults and he explained his entire experience with the disease and how, with care, he leads a very normal and full life. I was really moved by his story and his life. So what did I do next?

I went on Facebook® to see if he was there and send him a nice email. We started to chat via email and lo and behold, I discovered that he served as a New York City Paramedic for a number of years, as well as a volunteer firefighter in a small town in Long Island. This in itself almost sounds like a script! I told him about my eight-year experience as a volunteer firefighter/medic 1 and a bond started to form.

At the end of April 2009, I was lucky enough to have fractured a bone in my lower leg. I was in a mobile cast for eight weeks and home from work for about 10 days. We continued to correspond and talk about the good old days. Around this time, I had been thinking about creating a new show about the fire/rescue service in the U.S. And Joel, who had developed a strong interest in the travel industry, was leaving network news and thinking about some sort of informational travel business.

I invited him to join me for lunch and we met at a small Israeli restaurant about half-way between where each of us lives. I told him about my idea for the new show and he told me his idea for a new show that would marry the story of the fire/rescue service with his love of travel, and voila, a new partnership and concept was developed over falafel and fries.

Next: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

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