Here we are at the end of the year. And it’s natural to look back at 2015.


But tonight, a friend of mine — a friend of ours — is looking forward, as he has done for more than a year now.


His name is Joe Vigil.


Professionally, Joe had an incredible year. This summer he won an Emmy for his reporting of the Alaska veteran honor flight to the nation’s capitol. And he was recently named the 2015 Broadcaster of the Year by the Alaska broadcasters Association.


If you are not part of the Alaska broadcaster’s circle, you probably don’t recognize how great of an honor this is.


Since 1986, there have been 27 recipients. And most broadcasters receive the honor at the end of their Alaska broadcast career, not the beginning.


But they’re not Joe Vigil.


I could talk to you about Joe’s qualities as a journalist, as an anchorman, or as a leader in the newsroom — all of which qualified him for these awards.


But the measure of Joe Vigil was made in 2015 by the days and weeks that he wasn’t in the anchor chair.


As most of you know, Joe has waged an aggressive and sometimes public battle with colorectal cancer. He’s currently recovering from his latest, and hopefully last, surgery after being diagnosed over a year ago.


One of Joe’s earliest decisions was whether to inform us, his audience, of his illness. Ultimately he shared his private struggle for two important reasons: to thank those who lead him to his diagnosis and to encourage the rest of us to get serious about our own screenings.


The anchor chair is one that a relatively few get to sit in, and it tends to elevate the credibility of the occupant a little higher than they typically deserve.


But not Joe Vigil.


In a day when anybody can be considered a journalist, only a relative few can earn the trust of an audience simply by being themselves.


So while the rest of us look back on 2015, we can forgive Joe, his wife MaryAnn and their kids for looking forward to 2016.


Congratulations Joe on your success and your continued recovery.


And to everyone else, Happy New Year.


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