September 2, 2014

From the Editor

Writer Chris Wadsworth loves telling stories, and it would be hard to miss his fine hand—and versatility—in Gulfshore Life this month. He takes you on an emotional journey in "Passions in Paradise" (p. 34) and also recommends delightful escapes in "Great Vacations … Right Here" (p. 76). His zest for journalism has always shone through his work in television, newspapers and magazines. And, one day recently, he was still wanting to talk some more about his "Passions" piece, about Troy Dunn in particular.

Dunn is the fellow who got started in the locator business by tracking down the biological mother of his own mother. What Wadsworth wanted to tell us is the bittersweet ending to that tale. The biological mother, it turns out, didn’t want to be found and didn’t want to have a relationship with her daughter. Sad. Sad indeed.

But, Chris goes on, how about this other case that didn’t get into his story? Here is a more upbeat drama involving an 11-year-old girl who was critically injured while on a vacation with her family. "In the hospital," Wadsworth says, "the girl needed a procedure, a donation that only a biological relative can provide. However, the girl had been adopted. Dunn worked all night and located the girl’s birth mother—actually woke her up in bed. She whispered that even her husband didn’t know she had once given a child up for adoption. The woman woke her husband up, told him and the two of them were flown to the hospital for the critical procedure. She was gone again before the child woke up. ‘To this day,’ says Dunn, ‘that little girl has no idea that while she slept, her birth mother flew in and saved her life.’" Wow.

Wadsworth has been spinning stories like these since he got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin (majoring in French and Russian) in 1991 and his master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Miami in ’94. At various times, he’s been a TV anchor, reporter and managing editor, a newspaper reporter and columnist, and a freelance writer for magazines. Among his many assignments, he’s covered hurricanes and plane crashes, celebrities and countesses, a child learning the violin and a sheriff suspected of molestation charges.

What may he be most remembered for? Wadsworth chuckles and recalls a moment from his TV reporting days 15 years ago in Rockford, Ill. He was on camera with a story from a pet store. A woman behind him was pushing a cart with one hand and snuggling her yellow Lab puppy in the other. Suddenly, the puppy squirmed loose, bounced off the cart and landed on the floor with a loud yelp. "I froze," Wadsworth says, "and then lamely wondered whether someone just dropped a dog behind me. This clip somehow made one of those blooper shows, and it has been repeated many times over the years. I still get calls and e-mails from people every time it’s on."

In fairness, we must balance the infamous with the famous: In 2004, Wadsworth won first place in Minority Reporting from the Florida Society of Professional Journalists Awards for his fine story in The News-Press on the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes’ efforts to preserve the Mikisuki language.

He’ll be writing about medical breakthroughs for us in August. I don’t think there’s danger of a falling dog distraction. There’s more of a chance for a prize-winner. See you next month.

CORRECTIONS

In the June issue’s "Top Doctors" story, Dr. Kriston Kent should have been listed under the Otolaryngology category, and a portion of Dr. Bruce Nakfoor’s listing was incorrect. Dr. Nakfoor’s listing should read:

Radiation Oncology

Bruce Nakfoor, M.D.

Naples Community Hospital Healthcare System

21st Century Oncology

820 Goodlette Road N., Naples, FL 34102

(239) 434-0166

Special expertise: Prostate cancer, testicular cancer

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