John Boel had already put in a full day of work when he arrived at the University Club at 7 this morning. The newly-hired WAVE-TV reporter told his Breakfast of Champions audience some inspiring stories from his journey from top news anchor at WLKY-TV to rehab for alcohol addiction and a rebirth on the morning news.
While much of his speech focused on his recovery and some frightening statistics about addiction, readers here might be more interested in his thoughts on media and how he came back to the local airwaves.
Boel said that in November he felt he was ready to make a decision on what to do with the rest of his life, and he and his family had discussed whether he should get away from Louisville (an agent had told him he could land a job in TV elsewhere) or stay in Louisville and wait until an opportunity arose. He knew that could be a long time, given the heistancy of local stations to touch him after his well-publicized DUI arrests and firing from WLKY. The family had decided it would be better to stay in town, no matter how long it took him to find a job.
One day after he’d talked with some people at The Healing Place about helping out at the recovery center as a vclunteer, he walked in the door at his home and the phone was ringing. It was WAVE news director Kathy Hostetter, inviting him to come down to the station to discuss working. He was hired shortly thereafter, and began work on the morning show last week.
Boel said the timing couldn’t have been a coincidence, that a higher power was at work.
Boel told plenty of inspiring stories about his fight with addiction, and said the problem touches a lot more people than you would expect. He said there are 300 AA meetings a week in town. The most touching moment was a letter he read from his 20-year-old daughter, encouraging him to persevere.
The next Breakfast of Champions is March 12.