Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. That's exactly how I feel about my chosen career in journalism. I've been anchoring and reporting stories at KOLD News 13 since June, 1999. I started the day after my son, Kurits, turned one year old.
I moved to Tucson from Yuma, Arizona where I was the main anchor for KYMA-TV. Prior to Yuma I spent a year at the CBS affiliate in Mankato, MN. I sure loved the people there but had a hard time dealing with the insanely cold winter.
I got my start in television news at KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado. That's also where I earned my B.A. in Mass Communications/broadcast journalism from Mesa State College. My first few semesters were spent jumping from major to major trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life.
I always thought I'd be a pilot which runs in my family. My grandfather, dad, and brother all fly but I get airsick pretty easily so that dashed my high flying dreams. I also thought about firefighting since I spent four summers as a wildland firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management; three seasons in Colorado and one was in Carson City, Nevada where I was a crew member of the Carson City Helitack.
I finally figured out what I wanted to my sophomore year in college. I was working at a SCUBA shop and "starred" in a local commercial. As soon as I walked into the television station to shoot the commerical I was hooked on TV news. The next day I changed my major (the 5th and final time) and within a year I was interning at KREX-TV in Grand Junction. A few months later I was hired as the morning anchor/producer while still a junior in college. That's where my news journalism career started and 13 years later I love it as much today as I did then.
I've always been a very inquisitive person. I ask questions to learn how things work so being a reporter comes naturally. Fair, balanced, accurate, and most of all being objective are the "code of journalism ethics" I take seriously.
But there's also a fun side to my job. I've flown to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the Marine Corps to Havasupai; one of the most remote native American reservations in the United States. I've flown in an F-16 and an aerobatic plane doing flips, rolls, and everything else that leaves a person queezy. I've also made three trips to Vietnam with a Tucson organization called Tours of Peace. Those were life changing experiences for me. Spending two weeks at a time with Vietnam veterans, visiting remote villages and former battlefield sites. One of my 1/2 hour documentaries, "Behind the Bamboo Curtain" from those trips earned me an Emmy Award. It's the most memorable story I've ever covered.
Others include; the Storm King Mountain Fire in Colorado that killed 14 firefighters (one of whom was a family friend), the Bullock and Aspen fires, Barry Goldwater's funeral, President Bush's visit to Mt. Lemmon and Yuma, the 2001 Final Four in Minneapolis, and my yearly trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for the "Superbowl" of professional rodeo.
When I'm not working I love spending time with my nine year old son Kurtis. You can find us wandering around 4th Avenue or hiking up "A" Moutain. Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemmon are our other favorite spots for exploring and camping. One of my favorite past times is throwing a steak on the BBQ and hanging out with friends and family. I also enjoy SCUBA diving. I'm a certified PADI Rescue Diver.
People ask me where I'm from and they get a unique answer; San Diego, Pawnee, Oklahoma and Grand Junction, Colorado. To confuse things even more I was born in Anchorage, Alaska where my dad was stationed in the Air Force but we moved to San Diego while I was still in diapers. I lived there until I turned 12 and dad decided it was time for us to get out of the city so we moved to a small town called Pawnee. It has two stop lights and the traditional courtyard town center. I worked as a bag boy all throughout high school at a family owned grocery store. After high school graduation I moved to Grand Junction to attend Mesa State.
I really love Tucson and the people who make up this great town. It's big enough to have everything we need but still has that "down home" feeling.