News13’s Rusty Ray says good-bye

Rusty Ray

MYRTLE BEACH — When I got a chance to think about saying good-bye on the air at News13, I knew I wanted it to be all about saying thanks.  When I started working for WBTW in 2002, I was fortunate to be partnered with Tasha Oxendine, who taught me everything I know about the news business. She also taught me just about everything I need to know about how to treat people, and a big part of that is saying “thank you.”

So I want to do Tasha credit by saying “thank you.”

Thank you, all, for watching.

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for calling, e-mailing, sending Facebook messages, or even letters to me to ask questions, to offer advice, or even to send critical questions.  I tried my best to answer all of them, even as they’ve flooded in this week.

Thank you for coming up to me in the grocery stores or at the mall to ask questions (even if you thought I was the weather man!).

Thank you to the wonderful team at WBTW, the very best TV station to work for anywhere.  This is a class organization that is full of integrity, tradition, ethics, and is really a family.

General Manager Randy Ingram has always supported me, always been honest with me, and while he didn’t like to hear it, was willing to work with me when I told him it was time to relocate my family to Minnesota.

News Director Dana Ritter is bringing great change to our newsroom, one smart move at a time, and she has become my friend over the past year and a half. I’m so thankful we got to work together. My only wish is that it was longer.

Assistant News Director Eric Walters is like my big brother. He helped hire me in 2002, and has been there along the way to dish out the advice, the trash talk, the jokes, the movie quotes, and he doesn’t know it but he taught me so much about being a father and a husband. I am forever grateful. (Oh, and Go Ravens!)

Our morning team is beyond compare: directors James Reiner, Warren Boyette, Brian Quigley, producers Justin Bradley, Jessica Romero, and Anna-Marie Bost, James Hopkins, Matt Gittins, Kara James, Erin Moran, and Patsy Kelly all make me proud to work in TV news and I know they will continue to do so after I’m gone.

Patsy Kelly is someone I am proud to have worked with, and, again, I only wish it was for longer. Truly an all-star. Truly a class act.

I’ve worked very hard over 14 years to do my best job for the station, for myself, and for the amazing communities of viewers across the Eastern Carolinas.  I’ve worked even harder since Labor Day 2008, when I came to News13 This Morning, to make sure I give my best to those people who luckily choose to start their days with us. It’s a responsibility I take very, very seriously, and is the reason I woke up at 2:15 a.m. for all these years, the reason I put maximum effort into every word we delivered, and made sure that those moments I chose to be funny were for the right reasons.

For all the weather colorings, all the trivia questions I got wrong, for all the laughs with my co-anchors, and for all of the times I slammed my fist on the desk in a commercial break, please know I did it for the viewer, for my team, and for myself least of all.

One last thing. The testimony to my time here will be the gifts we received from viewers–total strangers–when my daughter was born a few years ago. I can not say how much that means to me. Truly a blessing.

Take care out there, and thank you for the love over all these years. I am a better man, a better journalist, and a seasoned storyteller for it.

Go Terps.

Stay cool and drive safely.

 

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