by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - This week Channel 9 is celebrating Don Griffin as he gets ready to retire after more than 30 years at WSOC-TV.
When Don arrived in 1982, it wasn’t just the start of his Action 9 career, but the start of many friendships too -- from photographers to anchors.
Natalie Pasquarella sat down with some of the people who have worked beside Griffin over the years and one person who has been with him from the beginning.
Giffin and Mary White have been sitting side-by-side, sharing ideas for more than 30 years.
White has produced thousands of Action 9 stories with Griffin day in and day out, dating back to the early 1980s.
They have helped thousands of people as a team.
“You have to love what you do. You have to be very compassionate about what you do. I know I am and I know he is too,” White said.
White says after all these years, the two are like family.
“(I) love him like a brother and he loves me like a sister,” White said.
White said while viewers mostly see the serious no-nonsense Don, there is another side to him.
“How funny he can be. How he can joke, how deep he laughs, his laughter comes from the stomach. They don’t get to see that, I see that though,” White said.
Others who work with Griffin, including news director Julie Szulczewski, sees that quality too.
“He does it with a smile on his face. One of the things I love about Don, he has a great sense of humor,” Szulczewski said.
Photographer Carl McLean told Pasquarella he’s always appreciated Griffin’s positive energy.
“He would be very encouraging, just whatever mood that you were in, he could feel that and he would always do something to make you feel better,” McLean said.
Channel 9 anchors Erica Bryant and Blair Miller laughed over Griffin’s focus on healthy living.
“He’s offered me seaweed, kale, you know the healthiest foods. He’s really serious about his health, so that’s been great,” Bryant said.
RECIPE: Don Griffin's Green Superfood drink recipe
“He does bust you on your food. If you’re eating a hamburger, he’s going to call you on it, saying, “Why you eating that? Eat some seaweed,’” Miller said.
Laughs aside, they both agree Griffin has been a role model above all.
“I just watch and learn, just watch how he moves around a newsroom. Watch how he gets it done and you know he does it without a lot of fanfare, but he sets the example quietly,” Bryant said.
“He doesn’t want to be on the spotlight all the time. He comes in, does his job and goes home. It’s very respectful from that standpoint,” Miller said.
And as for White, she said she is sad about Griffin no longer sitting beside her.
“It doesn’t make me sad. I am happy for him, because I know our friendship will go on. Now, it’s now time for focus on him,” White said.
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