Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Walk The Line

Wertheimer at Crash
Though I was working in North Carolina television at the time, I did not know Bart Smith, Rick Sherrill or Jim Lane. But when all three men perished in the 1991 crash of WTVD's helicopter, the impact sent shock waves through every television station in the state and nation. Since that time, I've grown to know several people affected by that terrible night in ways big and small. They don't talk about it much and I don't ask. But with the Twentieth Anniversary of the crash upon us, I feel compelled to dip my lens in honor of these exciting young men struck down in the prime of their lives. Of course, nothing I can say will assuage the pain still felt by loved ones, so I hesitate to try. Instead, let's hear from journeyman photog Dave Wertheimer - who doesn't need anniversaries or tributes to relive that awful call...
Twenty years ago I was a Photojournalist for WTVD and I got a call in the middle of the night from Bonnie Moore. The chopper went down and I had to go cover it. At the scene Dave Boliek met me there. I concentrated on keeping my right eye on the black and white viewfinder, trying to insulate myself from the reality that Bart (my roommate), Rick (my best friend) and Jim (close friend and former next door neighbor) were dead in the wreckage. All three were engaged or soon to be. I stayed focused on the black and white images I was recording until I heard Bart's voice pager go off, the voice was his soon to be fiance Karen saying "where are you, are you with Dave? Call me". At that point I had enough and could not shoot any more. I spent the next day or so going between the houses of Karen, Diane and Lisa trying to comfort them in their loss. In the days to come I went to all three funerals. In the years to come I became a "video gypsy" of sorts, moving from station to station trying to find myself, still remembering December 7, 1991 as the worst day of my life.
My condolences to those still suffering...

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Requiescat in pace to the three who never came home.

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I might as well admit to it now since it will likely rip open old wounds if/when the inquiries start to arrive in North Carolina. Bart Smith is one of the names I sent in to the Newseum's memorial wall committee recently as part of my on-going project of making sure tv/newsreel staffers are not forgotten to time.

turdpolisher said...

powerful

Jennifer & Jason said...

I've been to the newseum, long before I was in TV. Definatly made an impact. Cuz here I am.
I would sign a petition to have them put on there.