Viewpoint: June 1, 2011

Many of you joined in our sadness this week as Paul Gates announced his retirement. And, he bravely made it public that he is battling Alzheimer's. Paul is a huge part of our community.

For those of you who know him personally, you know that Paul is an extremely proud man, a man who puts family first, and a man with an extraordinary sense of humor. He's also incredibly strong willed. And, that will help him in his fight against this cruel, unforgiving disease.

Many of you supported Paul when his beautiful wife, Michelle, bravely and successfully battled breast cancer. In a conversation with Michelle a few days ago, she perhaps said it best. For years, breast cancer was something people rarely openly talked about. With increased awareness, people now openly discuss it.

The same is not true of Alzheimer's. As Michelle said, Alzheimer's is still, for the most part, something people secretly whisper about. With Paul's decision to make his diagnosis public, his hope, and ours, is that it will no longer be something people are afraid to discuss. Instead, we urge you to join us in speaking loudly of your hope for more research about this cruel disease.

Paul Gates was a part of WAFB for 34 long years. He was among the area's first investigative journalists and he has been repeatedly honored for his work. The stories he produced uncovered pollution, corruption, and wrong-doing. His reports led to positive change. We know you join us in wishing Paul, Michelle, and their two children all the best. We are honored to have had him as part of our team. And, although he is retiring, he will always be part of our family.