Service of Courage

October 24th, 2022

Categories: Bravery, Careers, Courage, New York City, News

I know–and have known–people whose lives have been drastically altered by circumstance–such as war–or illness, causing catastrophic career reversals and forced gear changes. I never met Peter Haskell, a reporter at WCBS 880 News, but I’ve heard his news reports for decades. He shares the same trait with the others: astonishing courage and no self-pity.

He’s been on the air for some 30 years and lately his voice has been wobbly. He resigned—his last day is October 31–because despite frequent Botox injections to his vocal cords the progressive spasmodic dysphonia that afflicts him has made it increasingly difficult for him to do his job.

He covered everything from Sully Sullenberger’s miracle on the Hudson landing to 9/11. “Haskell’s coverage of the mission to fully fund the World Trade Center Victims Compensation Fund has been cited by advocates as having contributed to that successful fight,” wrote Tim Scheld, news director and brand manager for the station. [Scheld will leave the station by year’s end because of a newsroom consolidation with another NY radio station, 1010 WINS.] In addition, Haskell covered eight political conventions, seven World Series, Super Storm Sandy, the Sandy Hook school shooting and more than 20 New York City Marathons, wrote Scheld.

Quoting Haskell’s letter to coworkers, Scheld wrote: “From the time I was a kid, I wanted to be on the radio. I had a cassette recorder and microphone from the five-and-dime and would do play-by-play off the TV and host my own shows. I’ve been fortunate to have lived my dream.”

Haskell added: “I’m not sure what’s next, but I’m not retiring. I’m figuring out my second act and am open to suggestions and opportunities.” And “I might have trouble speaking, but I haven’t lost my voice.” Wish him well. I did in a Tweet. I whine about trivial irritations both here and to my friends and am ashamed in light of what happens to some who utter not a squeak of complaint. What is it about those who, when faced with a life-changing crisis, handle catastrophe and heartbreak with such grace?


Image by Alexa from Pixabay 

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6 Responses to “Service of Courage”

  1. BC Said:

    All around us, folks handle a near death crisis or illness with grace and dignity.
    We support each other, which makes the difference. Think also of a
    dear friend who recently lost her husband of 70 years. Old age is not
    for a sissy. Most of my friends say the cup is half full, not half empty.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    Good point: You have identified superlative examples of courage. Ironic that we must become stronger as physically we become weaker. And as my mother used to say: “It’s better than the alternative.”

  3. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: The way we’re raised in part. My dad didn’t tolerate what he called “belly-aching.”

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Linda,

    Good point. Some are brought up to encourage pity (i.e. “poor baby momma is leaving the house now,”)while others not.

    I also suspect that anyone who lived through, knew someone who had or was impacted by the world wars, Korean and Viet Nam wars, 9/11 and/or the great depression grew thick skins and were prepped to shoulder tough circumstances.

  5. lucrezia Said:

    I’ve given little to no thought to that question and can only guess that some of us are built of sterner stuff than others. Hats off to Haskell and may all not be as horrifying as it seems!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I believe that Haskell will find fulfilling work and that both he and his future employer will thrive. He has enviable experience. It’s a shame he can’t continue in his first passion. He’s like a sports star who eventually must hang up his racket, skates, etc. His fans will miss him too.

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