KCBD-TV celebrates long-standing partnerships with South Plains organizations, viewers on 70th anniversary
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - KCBD-TV is celebrating 70 years on Lubbock airwaves and the relationships we’ve built with the community. As viewers have tuned in through the years, they’ve opened their hearts, and wallets, to support other families across the South Plains.
KCBD viewers have partnered with the station to give back to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), the South Plains Food Bank, and the South Plains Honor Flight, among others.
This year, CMN is celebrating 40 years at University Medical Center.
“We were one of the first 11 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals to be asked to be a part of the Children’s Miracle Network, and KCBD was right there with us,” Britt Pharris, vice president and chief philanthropy officer at UMC, said.
Over the past 39 years, the CMN telethon has raised more than $26.5 million for the UMC Children’s Hospital. Pharris says it’s changed the face of healthcare for kids and families across the South Plains.
“We’re able to provide new technology, new facilities, new equipment, new types of treatment for kids and their families from all over the region, and we would not be able to do that without the support of the entire KCBD team,” Pharris said.
After 25 years of hosting the telethon, anchors Karin McCay and Abner Euresti were given the Distinguished Service Award by the National Children’s Miracle Network, broadcasting with Miss America from the happiest place in the world, Disney World.
“It’s business when it comes to the telethon, but Karin and Abner truly put their emotions into it, and we’ve all seen Karin and Abner both cry on camera,” Pharris said.
UMC was one of the first hospitals in the country to have an ECMO system for neo-natal intensive care, made possible through CMN.
Another first for KCBD was the U Can Share food drive. David Weaver, who served with the South Plains Food Bank for 27 years, says KCBD was the first to host one like it in our area.
“Setting up a trailer and putting the TV camera there. And basically, Skip said, well, I don’t know what we’re doing, but we need food and come on. And it was so successful the first time, Carolyn [Lanier] thought we should do it again,” Weaver said.
With each drive, familiar faces tried to garner support for the food insecure.
“People like Skip [Watson]...he was a star. Christy [Hartin]. But I love the way they would just hug everybody, and...they made everybody feel welcome. And I think that came across on air, and I was always amazed at how many people would watch and they would call, and they would say, well, are you making your goal?” Weaver said.
The U Can Share food drive has now raised food and funds for families on the South Plains for 40 years.
“You’ve allowed us to get the message out there, and say there are people hurting, there are people that are hungry. And you can make a difference,” he said.
Another difference-maker has been the South Plains Honor Flight. The program has taken about 100 veterans and 40 volunteers to Washington, D.C. every year since 2012 to see the memorials in their honor.
Board member Paul Anderson says it’s one of the best programs in the nation.
“I believe and I’ll give credit to Channel 11. Because Channel 11 has really helped us with our publicity. I asked people all the time, have you ever heard of Honor Flight? Yeah well, oh yeah, it’s Channel 11. I saw that, you know,” Anderson said.
The KCBD team won a Lonestar Emmy in 2013 for best documentary for its Honor Flight tribute.
“It’s such an awesome experience. It’s hard to explain just what it does. Now just a trip to Washington and seeing these things is nice, but when you go with fellow veterans and you experience like that Vietnam wall, it does something to you,” he said.
70 years after hitting the airwaves, KCBD will continue to serve.
The South Plains Honor Flight takes off again in June, and KCBD will be there to document it all.
“We’re taking that usual crew, and it’s all because of Channel 11, the people of West Texas, especially Lubbock, help us to put that on,” Anderson said.
There will be another U Can Share food drive in December, as the South Plains Food Bank is feeding more people than ever.
“Channel 11 has just made sure that the public was aware of that opportunity, of the need, and invited people to participate and join in with us,” Weaver said.
This year’s Children’s Miracle Network telethon will support the new UMC Children’s Hospital.
“Thank you KCBD. Thank you, Karin and Abner. We know y’all’s hearts are in it, and congratulations on 70 years of making a huge impact for Lubbock and the entire region,” Pharris said.
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