A word about Randy from Irene Salerno
I’ve been asked to write about who Randy is…was.
I’d like to share with you just a few memories of this loving man, and why the Randy Salerno Foundation was created in his honor.
To his family, he was a man whose unconditional love brought us incredible joy everyday.
To his friends, he was like a campfire everyone gathered around, hoping to catch a spark of his zest for life.
To his co-workers, he was a quick witted, tenacious journalist, a good man and a trusted friend.
To his viewers, he was not only a news anchor, but someone who became a beloved part of their lives.
All these attributes, all these qualities, all these things which made Randy who he was...now make us miss him so deeply.
Randy’s upbringing, in what was then the small town of Crystal Lake, had a lot to do with the person he would eventually become. His parents were his staunchest supporters throughout his life, as were his siblings, who idolized their big brother. Randy was a much grounded man, and never let the success he achieved change him.
Randy wanted us to raise our children in Crystal Lake, so as to instill the same values in them. They play sports at many of the same fields Randy played in when he was a kid. Some of their teachers were the same ones Randy had growing up. There was a special connection for him here, a place he could come and be himself.
Randy made it look so easy…but he did pay his dues. It was nine years after his first job in television news that he made his big move to Chicago. He’d built his career in cities like Rockford, Peoria and Albany, New York. He was so excited and proud to be home, as were his family and friends.
When I met Randy at WGN-TV in 1993, I was struck by his unique journalistic abilities. As a news producer, I had worked with many talented reporters, but I could see Randy was different. He had lightning fast, concise, hard-hitting writing. I’d never met a live shot reporter who could think so quickly on his feet. He would soon become the lead reporter on most every nightly broadcast. But he never tried to undermine any of his colleagues, and would be the first to hand over a story to a fellow reporter who had more insight or contacts.
And was he clever! Some of you may remember the story he did at WGN-TV during one of Chicago’s coldest nights. We asked him to go out and find a different angle, quite the task when you think about all the stories that have been told about the city’s weather. He went out that night and during his live three minute shot, froze a flap of chicken skin to illustrate the effects sub-zero temperatures could have on humans.
Randy and I fell in love working those crazy nights together. And to borrow a phrase from a song… I believe that “God blessed the broken road, that led me straight to you.” He treated me like a queen, but we were also a team, best friends who respected and admired each other. He cherished our children, his parents and siblings.
I adored this incredible man and still find it difficult to believe I will never again see him in this lifetime. His time with us was painfully short, but he lived every day to its fullest. And that is the legacy, the catalyst for the creation of the Randy Salerno foundation. We strive to pay tribute to this wonderful man, by doing what he did…live for today and touch the lives of others.
Thank you for your help and contributions. Through your support we truly are touching lives – and transforming futures.