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As the youngest of nine children raised in an Irish-Catholic family from the southside, being shy wasn't in the cards. To top that, I had more than 50 cousins and all of whom were older than me, too. Seizing the moment was an art-form I practiced from the moment I entered this world.
We are a family who has called Chicago home for four generations. My grandparents came here from Ireland and like so many others, they found work and a lot of people in similar circumstances.
My grandfather on my mother's side actually helped build the empire state building before heading west and settling in Chicago.
My grandparents, father and many uncles worked in the trades. They were plasterers and carpenters who wanted nothing more than to see their children go to college. We did! In my immediate famiy, all 9 of us have college degrees.
I started working at age 15 in a grocery store. I had to fudge my birth certificate. That was my mom's idea. The money I made went toward my tution at Brother Rice High School. To pay for college, I worked my way through school as a laborer on a carpentry crew. I learned a lot and came to appreciate an honest day's work. It made me, and even my mother, study harder. She owned a drapery business for 30-years. Need drapes installed? I can do that, too. I think I've had over 25 jobs but only one career - the news business.
Believe it or not, I always wanted to work in TV news. At the dinner table, current affairs was the thing and much of it centered on politics. So, to keep up with the older brothers and sisters I made a habit early on of reading the newspapers.
For college, I decided to get out of the midwest. Texas was for me! The University of Texas is my alma mater. Go Longhorns. If you've ever been to Austin and UT, you understand why. Great people living in a great place.
Hard to believe it, but I'm fast approaching 20-years out of college. Yikes! My career jobs have included stops in Houston, Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee. I've covered good times and bad.
In Houston, I covered the Branch Davidian stand-off outside of Waco. In Oklahoma City, I covered the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. I've seen the damage of tornadoes and hurricanes. In response, I've witnessed the power of the human sprit, which is far greater in force than any natural disaster. The good stories still out number the bad. How about my White Sox in 2005! Don't worry fellow Sox fans, we'll be back.
Cubs fans, there's always next year. Hope springs eternal. That's another reason I love this town. Declare your colors. In my world you're either a die-hard Sox fan or a die-hard Cubs fan. It's a great rivalry!
On a personal level, I am married with four wonderful children and a great wife, Kate. One more and it's a full hoops squad. It's my love for my kids and kids everywhere that's connected me to a charity very near and dear to my heart. I mean head! It's called Saint Baldricks and it's about people shaving their heads to raise money and awareness for kids cancer research.
Doctors and scientists are very close to finding a cure for kids cancer. Today, the cure rate stands at over eighty percent. That's good, but still not good enough. So I invite you to help me help these kids.
So come along. It's a great ride here at FOX 32 News. Please remember the words I live by: together we can make a difference!