ANNIVERSARY MESSAGE: Matt DiNardo
By MATT DINARDO
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I started my career at WKTV in June of 1993. At that time it was only Rich Luterman and me as the weather team, and we were the first meteorologists ever at WKTV and in the Mohawk Valley.
I remember our first winter working together in Utica, the winter of 1993 and 1994. Wow! What a winter with over 170inches of snow, that’s over 14 feet, it was amazing. We had 16 Nor’easters that winter, but one will always stick out in my mind, March 2nd and 3rd. I remember that Rich and I were looking at the weather maps, and everything showed that this particular system would head out to sea and would bear no impact on Central New York. Those weather maps could not have been more wrong and so was our forecast of 3 to 6 inches. By the time it was all said and done we had reports from 1 to nearly 2 feet of snow. It was a humbling experience, but what I remember most was the people of the Mohawk Valley that day, calling up and while some were upset about the botched forecast, most took it lightly and kept calling in with snowfall totals. It was then that we began the weather watcher program in central New York.
The following year, I was promoted to morning and noon meteorologist, as WKTV began the first ever morning newscast in the Mohawk Valley. That news program was hosted by Dick Lawler and Bill Sally anchored the morning sports. Working with the two of them was a treat, but in particular working with Dick Lawler was just amazing. Dick became a mentor to me in and out of the work place at WKTV. I was able to work alongside of Dick for about two years, before I was promoted once again.
When Rich Luterman left for the Fox station in Detroit, I was really honored and humbled when the management of WKTV, Vic Vetters and Steve Merren offered me the position of chief meteorologist. I remained in that position for over 7 years.
During my time at WKTV, when I was not forecasting the weather, I would spend my days or nights at many different classrooms in central New York, explaining to students how weather works, speaking to different rotary clubs, senior citizen organizations, Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops, and many other groups that had an interest in weather. I also became very active in some of the different charitable organizations that WKTV would help with telethons.
While at WKTV, I met the woman who would later become my wife, Darlene Izzo, of Rome. She was able to understand my passion for weather and my job at WKTV. We were married in June 2001 and bought our first house together in North Utica.
I was fortunate to be able to work on or host many of the special projects that WKTV was a part of; from the Boilermaker, to Stomp Out Cancer, the Fall Harvest Food Drive, and more. But the one that really stood out for me was the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. I hosted or co-hosted the CMN telethon for 7 of my 11 years at WKTV.
In 2004, Darlene and I were blessed with our first and only child Alexandra. Alexandra was 5 and ½ weeks early and we were sent to Syracuse for delivery and for any told to be ready for possible complications. Thankfully, the delivery was fine and Alexandra was healthy, but because she was so early, she needed to be in a special care nursery for the first 10 days of her life. My wife was discharged from Crouse, but Alexandra was to remain and that is when I saw CMN come in to play. A bed had opened up in the special care nursery at Faxton-St. Lukes and Alexandra was transferred. It was then, that it hit me. Everything that I had talked about and asked for monetary support so that the hospital could purchase was now being used to keep my daughter safe, well, healthy and warm. It was by far the hardest 10 days of our young parenthood. Even though I was officially gone from WKTV, I made a commitment to WKTV and Faxton-St. Lukes to help host the 2004 CMN Telethon, as it was now and forever will be a major part of our life!
I left WKTV in 2004, and have been working in Richmond, Virginia at WRIC for over 4 years. I am the morning and noon meteorologist and still have a passion for weather and spend a tremendous amount of time out doors with my daughter Alexandra and wife Darlene.
Since my wife is from Rome and all of her family still lives in central New York, we come back to town at least 6 times per year. As many of you know, I have become the spokesperson for ABC ChemDry and those commercials are played quite often.
I am thankful for all that WKTV did for me and my career during my 11 years at the station and I wish everyone there the best on the 60th Anniversary. I would be remiss if I did not thank every resident of the Mohawk Valley, who took me into their home daily to let me bring them the weather forecast. I also appreciate everyone who stopped me on the street or in the mall to say “Hi!” Of course, I am truly grateful to the staff, nurses, doctors and all at Faxton-St. Lukes for the care they gave to Alexandra in her first few days of life. Central New York will always have a special place in my heart, a place that I am and forever will be proud to call home.