This is the time of year that most of us reflect on the past 12 months and begin to look forward to the year to come. I am no different. The year, 2006 has been filled with many adventures in the news gathering game. It has been particularly good to me personally.
We are lucky in many ways as our jobs give us an up close first hand look often of what becomes history. It may not be world history or even national history, but often stories we cover become local history. We meet interesting people, we experience events, mind you, through a lens, but we experience none the less.
2006 began with a federal election in Canada. A change of government. Not a world historical event, but perhaps a national one. My assignment was at a cabinet minister's reception. He won that night, but within weeks defected over to other side of the House. It was a story that had legs for several weeks, but like most things political, blew over and we won't know if it has helped or hurt him until the next federal vote. That Vote may come as early as the spring of 2007.
I was fortunate enough to have been assigned to the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games. It was an experience I will never forget. It was a grind, but our crew managed to squeeze in some events. Hockey games and the closing ceremonies. It was my second Olympic games, yet my first "working" games. Anybody who knows me, knows that the highlight for me was getting my photo with none other than Number 99 himself.
As far as my duties aboard Chopper 9 was concerned, the year was pretty good as well. The Olympic trip took me off the flightline for a month but the summer and fall were very good to me both in terms of flight hours and stories covered. My colleagues, Pete Cline and Gary Barndt both logged lots of hours and covered some rather great stories. My most memorable story from the air was the Kidnapping recover Operation in the spring. We were high above the house where a young man who had been held against his will for a week, was rescued by a Police/RCMP tactical unit.
The weather played a big part of our Stories cover this year, from near record rain last January to the heat and dry summer, to the storms of the fall. We are still cleaning up from the last one.
We had some big stories, the Queen of the North sinking, the storms, the mounting casualties of Canada's young men and women in the deserts of Afghanistan. These all shaped the year that was.
Covering these stories we met some very interesting people. Some famous, most not so famous but all had compelling stories and I know I feel richer for having met and spoken to them. Some like Mario, the restaurateur in Turin, Italy, who didn't realize just how busy his establishment was going to get during the Games. His place was a two minute walk from our media village and even though his usual closing time was 11PM, stayed open until 3AM so that the ravenous media hoard would get a hot meal at the end of the days work. He always met us at the door with a smile and still sends me the occasional email just to say hi.
Not to mention Alberto our driver/guide, in the business we call them a "fixer". Here's a lad in Medical school and he worked his ass off for us while in Italy, never complained once or if he did it was in Italian and we didn't understand it.
But what always amazes me, are the folks that we intrude upon, dare I say invade, daily, for whatever reason. Fire, flooding, accidents, streeters, you name it. We rely on people to share their stories with us. And they do. Many I will only remember as a face ( I am horrible with names anyway). Some days it truly is one of the wonders of our business.
Yes, I have been blessed this past year. Working in a profession that I love. Meeting new people everyday. Yes all this and I fly. Can it get any better??
I guess we will see what the new year brings, better yet, what the next assignment brings. I'm back to work tomorrow.