mom and kids

A mom hugs her kids following the shooting at a school in Connecticut

This has happened way too many times. Far too often I’ve fought back tears during live TV because of a senseless act. And the latest time happened this past Friday. And it was particularly tough on this day. December 14th was my station’s 20th annual Share Your Christmas food drive. We raise more than 170,000 pounds of food in one day. We help to feed 97,000 people a month who depend on the Food Bank of Northern Nevada for food. This is an important day because it shows the best side of humanity. It shows what we are truly all about as a community and as a race. We were all in place in the darkness of the early morning. And right at 5 am, the cheerful, lighthearted, Christmasy music went out over the airwaves and with smiling face, we began encouraging thousands of people to come donate food. The day started just as it had the past 19 years. My co-anchor, Kristen, even bought us fun braided hats so we could all laugh and create an air of silliness. That is what this day is all about. But just after 10 am we learned CBS was cutting into our show with breaking news. We sat in the freezing cold watching the chilling details of the school shooting in Connecticut. The tears immediately filled to the brim of my eyes and then slowly overflowed, unstoppable, as we learned dozens were dead, mostly children between the ages of 5 and 10. Schools are supposed to be safe. When a gunman opens fire at a shopping mall, we think “our kids are safe, they are at school.” When a crazed lunatic opens fire inside an I Hop restaurant we think, “our kids are safe, they are at school.” But this time a school became the shooting range. Didn’t this asshole know SCHOOLS ARE OFF LIMITS TO COWARDS LIKE YOU!!!!  I wanted to run to my kids and take them home. It took every ounce of strength I had to not pick them up. But I didn’t.  I had a job to do that day. And that was to show the good side of humanity. To not let evil win. To shine some light on this horribly dark day. So at 3pm, once again, the cheerful, lighthearted, Christmasy music went out over the airwaves and then we popped up on live TV. At first, I was afraid to speak. Afraid my voice would crack and the tears would return. But instead, as the words flowed from my heart and out of my mouth, I gained strength. We spoke about the horrors one single person can inflict upon a town, but we also wanted to show the good side of humanity and how an entire community comes together to feed the hungry. From darkness to light. From horror to hope. This is what we do. We make difficult transitions on live TV because we believe in the largest part of humanity. The part that comes out and donates food and money so those facing harder times than ourselves can feed their families. People like you who live every day as a good decent human being.  What evil people don’t understand is when they act out and terrorize a community, the rest of us circle the wagons.  We come together as stronger communities, families and individuals.  Yes, evil people break our hearts.  They make us cry and ask why.  But in the end, they make us better people.  More loving.  More kind.  More compassionate.   And by the end of our Share Your Christmas food drive, more than 190,000 pounds of food was collected.  And more than $170,000 was donated.  That’s the good side of humanity.  The side that will never be defeated. 



  1. Vic Williams says:

    Thanks, Wendy. Heartfelt words indeed. I was at the Grand Sierra volunteering for a few hours Friday and I, too, fought back tears through the day. My wife, Emelie, works for the Food Bank and we’re proud to have folks like you out there advocating for the good in people. God bless you.

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