HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "Good Evening Friends..."
Longtime ABC13 anchor Dave Ward said that famous line for the last time on Tuesday evening during Eyewitness News. Dave joined anchors Gina Gaston and Art Rascon during the 6 p.m. news to reflect on his historic and decorated broadcasting career and later shared a final goodbye and heartfelt message with his viewers and colleagues.
Fans and friends gathered at Houston City Hall on Wednesday for a special celebration and presentation from Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Dave hit a historic milestone in November when he celebrated his 50th year at KTRK-TV. His long tenure at the station was acknowledged in June 2016 when he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records by breaking the record as the longest-running local TV news anchor in the world at the same station, in the same market. Dave's final broadcast was planned for December 2016, but was postponed as Dave underwent heart surgery.
Dave began working at the station as a reporter/photographer in 1966, and started anchoring newscasts two years later. Over the last five decades, Dave has covered topics from space walks and the Vietnam peace talks to natural disasters and politics, including a one-to-one interview with President Obama.
PHOTOS: Dave Ward through the years
About Dave Ward
Getting the facts right, consistently -- that's what defines Dave Ward. A true Texas original, Dave has made his mark as one of the nation's most respected news anchors for the past five decades. In his trademark down-to-earth style, he begins every newscast with "Good evening, friends," and has for 50 years. It is the candor and dedication to getting every side of the story that's helped him become the most trusted newsman in Houston.
His name is David Henry Ward, but to thousands of Eyewitness News viewers who wouldn't miss Channel 13's nightly newscasts, he is known simply as "Dave." He has been a radio and television broadcaster for 57 years. Born in Dallas, he grew up in Huntsville and began his radio career with KGKB Radio in Tyler while attending college. Three years later, he joined the staff of WACO Radio as a staff announcer and quickly climbed to Program Director the following year.
Dave moved to Houston in 1962, where he worked for KNUZ Radio as a News Reporter and News Director for four years. He made the move to Channel 13 in 1966 as the station's only on-the-street news reporter and photographer, coming "inside" in early 1967 to anchor Channel 13's weekday 7 a.m. newscast. Later that year, he became the first host of the wildly popular "Dialing for Dollars" program, which later evolved into "Good Morning Houston." Houston viewers flocked to see him and hear him and by January 1968, Dave became the anchor of Eyewitness News at 6 and 10, leading the broadcast to the No. 1 in Houston.
From fires, explosions, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes throughout Texas and the South, Dave has covered it all. He has covered national political conventions and reported on the space program from the Florida launch site for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and all shuttle flights. During his career, he has interviewed people from all walks of life, from presidents to drug dealers. His interviews with five U.S. Presidents and U.S. Vice President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller have achieved much acclaim. He has traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia to report on numerous stories with a Houston connection. Dave accompanied the Houston delegation to the Paris Peace Talks and spent a week in Germany examining mass transit solutions that could potentially benefit Houston.
Dave is equally devoted to community service. He has lent his expertise at the microphone to serve as Master of Ceremonies for many charitable and civic events. Dave's commanding voice and his stately presence add immeasurably to the overall success of any fundraising event.
Dave is past president of Houston Easter Seals Society and has hosted several Easter Seals telethons. He is a past member of the Public Affairs Advisory Board of the Houston Business Council, Public Information Committee of the American Cancer Society, the Board of Directors of the Leukemia Society and the Press Club of Houston. He is a Lifetime Member of Crime Stoppers and the 100 Club of Houston, Endowed Lifetime Member of the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine, and a Lifetime Member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Dave serves on the board of the Houston Police Foundation and on the Advisory Board of Houston Children's Charity.
Some of Dave's most productive work has been with the Crime Stoppers of Houston organization. At the time of the program's inception in 1981, Dave was instrumental in establishing Crime Stoppers in Houston and throughout the world. His creation of crime reenactments has become the model for similar programs across the country and throughout the world. He became Crime Stoppers' first on-air reporter and his unwavering passion and commitment to stop crimes in Houston remains steadfast. Opening in 2017, the first Crime Stoppers headquarters in the nation will be named The Dave Ward Building: Crime Stoppers of Houston. A mission-driven monument to crime prevention, this building will also be a highly efficient, secure hub for centralized operations, staff, volunteers, victims, law enforcement and the media. Detailed collections, archives and a retrospective gallery celebrate Dave's award winning career and contributions will honor his work for the organization.
Video: ABC13 employees talk about watching Dave Ward when they were young, and then getting the chance to work with him
Dave has won a number of awards over his long career. In 1973, Houston Mayor Louis Welch presented Dave with the City of Houston Public Service Award for his work on the Managua earthquake. In 2002, Dave received the prestigious Leon Goldstein Award for Outstanding Service in Fighting Crime from Houston Crime Stoppers. In 2007, he proudly accepted a regional Emmy for Art/Entertainment Special Programs for his interviews with his friend, singer-songwriter, Steve Tyrell. In 2011, the Lone Star Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences inducted Dave into their Silver Circle for his years of contributions to the Television Broadcast Community. In 2016, Dave was honored by the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and also inducted into the esteemed Texas Radio Hall of Fame. Also, in 2017, Dave will be inducted into the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Hall of Fame.
As the "Voice of Houston," Dave has distinguished himself not only as the longest running television anchor in the City of Houston, but he holds that same distinction worldwide; no other news anchor has been on the same newscast program, on the same station for as long. Dave now holds the Certificate from Guinness World Records for "the longest career as a television news broadcaster is 49 years and 218 days, achieved by Dave Ward (USA), who began working on 9 November 1966 and continues anchoring at KTRK-TV, in Houston, Texas, USA, as verified on June 2, 2016."
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