BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Longtime WAFB anchor, Donna Britt, was among four people inducted in the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Tuesday, March 10.
Donna Britt retired from WAFB in 2018 after an amazing 37-year career at the station. She was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2016.
Donna used a computerized device to deliver her prepared acceptance speech. The device allows Britt to use her eyes to type words that are then delivered in her own voice.
“I am so happy. My heart is singing,” Britt told the large audience gathered at the event.
The three others inducted into the LAB Hall of Fame Tuesday were inducted posthumously.
They include former WAFB and WVUE anchor, Nancy Parker, Ivy Robinson of KWCL-FM, and George Foster Jr. of Guaranty Broadcasting.
Here is the entry that WAFB submitted in nominating Donna Britt to the LAB Hall of Fame:
One week before signing off the air for her final time as main anchor of WAFB-TV, Donna Britt received an amazing surprise. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva presented Donna, an LSU alum, with an honorary LSU football jersey with the number 18 on it. It is one of the top honors LSU bestows upon its players. The jersey was symbolic in many ways. During her stellar 37-year career at WAFB, viewers had grown to know her as a trusted news source, a talented journalist, a comforting voice in times of sadness, and a promoter of all that is good about Louisiana. She was a leader of the team. The daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, Donna’s friendly and caring demeanor seeped through the television screen and into the homes and hearts of people across the WAFB viewing area. Donna started her career at WAFB in 1981 as a weekend reporter after a brief stint in local radio. She worked her way through the ranks until being promoted to anchor the station’s premier newscasts alongside veteran news anchor, George Sells. Together, the duo made local television history. WAFB’s newscasts, anchored by Donna and George, soon enjoyed some of the highest news ratings in the entire country.
Donna also became a fixture at community events. Her involvement included regularly ringing the Salvation Army Christmas bell, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, emceeing community events, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, and so much more.
Donna has been a true example of a selfless heart, making a difference in the lives of those around her, including her husband and two children. Like all of us, she faced challenges throughout her life, but none like the one that first arrived in 2016.
That is when Donna’s health began to decline.
‘My husband and I would walk around the lake and by the end of the walk, I was stumbling and couldn’t figure out why,’ Donna recalls.
Within months, Donna lost the use of the muscles on top of both of her feet, making it necessary for her to use a cane. It was not long before doctors diagnosed her with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While the diagnosis was devastating, Donna continued to work each and every day. Eventually, she needed a wheelchair to get around and a special addition was added to the news set to allow her to anchor from her wheelchair. Within months, however, she was unable to continue to deliver the news as ALS was slowly robbing her of the very voice her career depended on. On June 13, 2018, surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues, Donna Britt signed off the air for the final time. Since her diagnosis, Donna has informed so many about the realities of living with ALS and counseled numerous families who have loved ones struggling with this dreaded disease. Donna Britt has a beautiful, special place in the heart of all who know her. She has helped to mentor and guide countless aspiring journalists. She has never missed a chance to promote her beloved Louisiana and all that makes it great.
WAFB-TV proudly nominates our dear friend, our number 18, Donna Britt, for induction into the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
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