Graduations, returns and get wells for friends

The master, the doctor and the bachelor all together. (Photo from UNI.edu)

A few old friends are making news.

First we begin with my old English teacher (must not have been THAT great at his job if you visit this site on a regular basis) Roark Horn and his family recently hit a big milestone at the University of Northern Iowa. Horns aplenty is the title of this story. Mr. Horn, now head of the AEA 267, along with daughters Shannon and Megan all received degrees from UNI. One a PhD, a master’s and a bachelor’s.

I’ll never forget that speech from him at prom, back when the teacher’s still did a speech. He also was one of my baseball coaches and served as golf coach during my time at Jesup High School.

A friend from Wartburg who now lives in Jesup, posted the following story Thursday. The Today Show occasionally will put together a great story and not just blather about Arnold/Lindsey/Natalee Holloway.

This story was about a former Simpson College national champion wrestler named Nick Ackerman. He now is in a line of work helping others like him. Oh, did I mention he doesn’t have any feet? He’s an amputee giving others legs to stand on. He became a wrestling champ without legs; now he builds them for others.

A person I got to know in college while we were interns at WHO-TV, later became my boss at KWQC-TV in Davenport. April Samp came to the QC via OK City and Kansas City. She eventually moved on to Cedar Rapids to run the newsroom at KGAN/KFXA. During that time she became a mother. Becoming a parent changes a reporter or producer. She won’t admit it, but I think it changed her hard charging ways. April took a job in 2010 in Virginia at WAVY-TV as news director. Friday was her last day. She’s coming back to Iowa and for now, getting out of news.

Fran Riley and Paul Yeager in the KWQC-TV6 Newsroom in September of 2006.

And a note about another KWQC employee. Everyone’s friend Fran Riley is recovering from his brain tumor. The station did post this storyabout him awhile back.

I just wanted to make sure we all have the story on what happened to him. The full story is below as posted on KWQC.com.

Also, continued prayers for Paula Sands as she deals with ovarian cancer. The station has set up a place to send notes to Paula and Fran.

Click here to send a note to Paula.

Dave Marcoulier and Mark Amadeo in the Freirich Field press box in Urbandale. 2009 photo.

And finally I want to say congratulations to Mark Amadeo.

The real voice of the West Des Moines Dowling Catholic Maroons will be enshrined into the DCHS Hall of Fame at the football game with Ankeny. So, on September 30, we’ll have Mark back on the radio.

There’s another guy who is putting his family first as he stepped aside for a couple of years to see his son play football at Prairie City Monroe. This year, his son’s coach will be former DCHS assistant coach Greg Bonnett
Greg Bonnett. Greg was a standout player as a Mustang.

And now the full note on Fran.

Long-time KWQC-TV6 reporter Fran Riley was covering a story on a family struck by tragedy when suddenly, he found himself fighting for his own life. On Friday April 1st, Riley just wrapped up an interview with Don Reed of Morrison, Illinois. Reed’s father was murdered in a two-state killing spree in 2008. Riley was getting ready to head back to the station when he started to feel ill. He was taken to the hospital. Mr. Reed and KWQC-TV6 Photographer Mike Colon stayed by his side until Riley was transferred to University Hospitals in Iowa city where doctors determined he had a brain tumor.

On Thursday, April 7th Fran Riley underwent 12 hours of surgery to remove the tumor on the front of his brain. One week later, he is back at home, recovering. We kept quiet about the surgery out of respect for his privacy. But he recently granted a live telephone interview with Quad City radio personalities Dwyer and Michaels, and for those who know him, it’s no surprise that he was humble and gracious.

“This morning it was flowers, cards, food. The outpouring of support has been just tremendous,” said Riley who joked about the incident occurring on April Fool’s day.

Riley says he’s surprised by the response from the public because he’s “just a guy doing a job he likes to do.”

Riley credits everyone’s prayers, his doctors and his wife for pulling him through.

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