Wednesday, February 18, 2009


As a news reporter I've met and interviewed dozens of important and famous people.

The first person I interviewed that I would consider awesome was Byron (Whizzer) White, who was dubbed "Whizzer" because of his speed as a star running back at the University of Colorado. Academically a "whiz" as well, Byron became a lawyer and the day I interviewed him and covered his speech in March 1962, he was deputy attorney general of the United States. The next day, he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served many years.

White taught me an important lesson about famous people. White didn't put on any "airs", but chatted with reporters during our interview like we were old friends. I learned that day anyone who is really important doesn't need to prove he is important. It's usually people who THINK they are important but aren't that act arrogant.

White was the first of many famous people I met. I also did a one-on-one interview with former First Lady Rosalind Carter, who was promoting children's immunizations.

I was in the press box among many famous national journalists for former President Clinton's rally in our city. Up close to the podium where he stood to speak, I could see tears pool in his eyes when the crowd cheered--and cheered, and cheered. He obviously enjoyed the folks' applause.

Before Clinton came, I wrote the pre-stories about how our hospitals prepared for a wounding or needed treatment for a U.S. President. With the help of the Secret Service, the hospitals devised a security plan.

The day Clinton came, I was assigned to cover the crowd's reaction to the President, and in doing so found myself tangling with the Secret Service. I attempted to get a couple of quotes from a girl about age 10 who was having an asthma attack and found it necessary to leave. I thought it would help her emotionally if she could tell the newspaper's readers why she wanted to see the President and it would have been another interesting facet to the story. The Secret Service agent stopped the interview.

A year or so later, I was in the press box in Denver for Hillary's speech promoting national health care. Here, I was most surprised by a woman in the crowd who wanted to take MY photo because I was in the media area.

I had a wonderful interview with Joanne Kemp, whose husband, Jack Kemp, ran for U.S. vice president with presidential candidate Bob Dole. A Christian, Mrs. Kemp was delightful.

I've interviewed many Colorado dignitaries and politicians. I talked to former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm more than once. During the first, because Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion (even before Roe vs. Wade), I asked if he had any regrets about signing the legislation. I had the number of reported abortions that had been done so far, which if I remember right was two or three milliion. He said he had no regrets. The next time I interviewed him about his new interest: physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Not surprising.

I chatted with former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer more than once, usually about prisons in the Pueblo area since I ended up with the Department of Corrections on my beat, only because they built a prison for mentally ill inmates on the campus of the state mental institution, one of my assignments.

I interviewed the head of the Social Security Administration under Clinton who said Social Security would be safe from bankruptcy for 30 years. It's only been about 12 years or so, and we're still worrying about SS running out of money.

U.S. Congressman Ben Nighthorse Campbell, whom I interviewed more than once, and his wife who kept a large ranch running while her husband was in Washington, were both delightful. I enjoyed them more than any other politicians I wrote about.

I interviewed Denver Broncos coach Dan Reeves on the phone; and did a story with Susie Morton, wife of former Broncos quarterback Craig Morton for Aglow Magazine; Broncos wide receiver and punt returner Rick Upchurch, who spoke to my Sunday school class; 1970s Broncos cornerback Earlie Thomas; and former CU coach Bill McCartney, the day he had the idea for Promise Keepers.

I did stories with media and movie noteables Dr. Joyce Brothers; actress Mariette Hartley; Monster actor Richard Kiel; the star of an animal show that if I remember right was "Wild Kingdom." (I petted a big python.)

I interviewed fashion designer Dona Karan on the phone.

I interviewed two general superintendents of the Assemblies of God; the president of the U.S. Unification Church (the Moonies, and the only reason it was a highlight is because he said I was the first reporter who challenged him about doctrine); the lead singer of Petra, a Christian rock band; and the Katinas, another Christian group.

I covered many medical conferences and interviewed notables on everything from new treatments, new drugs, to the controversies surrounding physician-assisted suicide. I interviewed the head epidemiologist for the United States about the conquering of polio and red measles in the United States, possibly making the need for immunizations no longer necessary. I visited with him about the production of a shingles vaccine, which didn't become available until after I retired. I talked to a representative of the Food & Drug Administration when they were considering labeling cigarettes as a hazard to your health. The most memorable medical conferences I attended and wrote about revealed discoveries about the human genome, the beginning of a new era of medical treatments surrounding genetics.

I interviewed a large number of city and state dignitaries.

During my newspaper and my free lance writing career, I met many amazing people, but most weren't famous.

Although I enjoyed talking with the famous, none of the celebrities affected me as much as meeting the Lord Jesus Christ when I was only age 5. Of course, Jesus wasn't just a man, although when He came to earth He put on human flesh. He is God and no one on earth can impact a life as He can. That's why we call Him "Lord."

God is the Creator and designed us. He is the One who was and is and is to come. He's everywhere, knows everything and is all powerful because He's God. He has power to give us faith, love, peace, joy, wisdom, gentleness, patience, self control; heal our bodies, forgive our sins and give us eternal life.

No one on earth can equal that--even a celebrity!