Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Straight from the heart

Days like today make me want to set sail for the South Pacific and never look back.

Since that's only going to happen in my dreams, at least for awhile, I'll take what I can get. Today, that meant a smile and a story at the Northside Kiwanis Club from the one-and-only Bill Williams.

For those who don't live in Knoxville, Bill Williams is our version of Walter Cronkite. He anchored or co-anchored the WBIR-TV news from 1977 until his retirement in 2000. (If I have those dates mixed up, Bill, I apologize.) He returned briefly in 2006 -- to cheers -- when anchor Ted Hall took a job in Atlanta.

We've known Bill and his wife, Wanda, since back in the days when my dad and uncle coached football at Halls Community Park. I am quite proud that, after living on the lake for awhile, they both now live in Halls.

Bill was everything a news anchor should be -- honest, trustworthy, fair, an active member of the community. He plays the piano. He tells a good tale.

Bill founded "Monday's Child," a long-running segment on WBIR that helps children with special needs find a home. He has also lent his considerable talents to Mission of Hope, which aids residents in rural Appalachia. Bill is the real deal. Straight from the heart, you might say.

He has long been an inspiration, both as a journalist and as a human being, and seeing him for a few minutes helped chase away the rain.

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