Sunday was the shock of learning my close friend and former co-worker Matt Turner died in a car accident.
Monday was the night I had to talk about Matt publicly on the news. And it was the hardest day of my professional career.
But I did get the chance to share a few of the things I learned about Matt Turner after sitting next to him in a newsroom for the last four years.
1. Matt the Co-worker
It was a joy and a privilege to sit next to Matt and work alongside him at KNWA and Fox 24. A joy because Matt could make me laugh more than anybody else I've ever known. Whether it was his spot on Ron Burgundy impression at a random moment, or his ability to make a ridiculous statement with a serious face and leave the other person wondering if what he said was actually true. Usually the governor was not on line two for him, but it was fun to watch a new reporter try and figure Matt out.
It was a privilege to work alongside him because I was able to witness first hand how dedicated Matt was to doing his job well. When I started as a camera operator Matt would compliment me on a camera shot and make me feel like what I was doing was important. Then when I became a reporter and later anchor Matt would always tell me I was doing a great job. We never felt like we were competing against each other. Instead we helped each other be the best news anchors we could be. We were Anchor's anchors"
2. Matt the Friend
Matt was a dedicated friend to me and many others. It didn't matter what he was going through, if I had a problem work or otherwise he would give me his full attention. He'd say, "let's go for a walk on the square." Or he'd say "Brad, you're coming over to my house after work and we're going to talk this out."
He would look me square in the eyes and I could tell he was thinking about how to help. Even though he was sick, and would come to work when most people wouldn't get out of bed, he always put others first.
3. Matt the Husband and Father
As dedicated a friend Matt was to me, he was a dedicated husband and father 100 times more. It was never more evident than one night when he invited me to house the last time before he moved. It was after work and it was late. As we're walking in he told me he wanted me to see Preslee while she was sleeping. I told him it was ok he didn't have to risk waking her up just for me. He looked me in the eye said "it's ok. I do this every night." When we walked into the room and as he held up his cell phone for light and I saw him lean down and kiss her on the forehead with the biggest smile on his face, I thought...."I want to be that kind of dad someday."
Matt was among the greatest guys I've ever known. He may be second only to my father and late grandfather. I miss him terribly, and will think about him always. I can't wait to see him again someday.