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The hundreds of people we’ve interviewed over 20 years have given us a deep appreciation for South Jersey. We’ve heard from people from all walks of life, including celebs with SJ roots, accomplished kids, and moms with a mission. Here are 8 that have stuck with us through the years. (You’ll see why when you read them.)

 

Gervase Peterson

November 2002
We spoke with the first-season Survivor cast mem­ber and we’re guessing the term “reality TV” hadn’t been around yet.

Q: What do you think is the secret to surviving on these “real television” adventure shows?
Luck. It’s 99 percent luck to win these shows. You could prepare all you want, but once you get out there in the situation, you never know how things will affect you. The climate, the lack of food and sleep, etc. People try to train for these types of shows, but you never know. People get sick that you wouldn’t expect to, and people “crack” mentally you thought were stable.

 

Broadcast Live

October 2007
Tuning in to SJ news with “Jersey Ed” Kasuba – KYW’s South Jersey Bureau Chief in 2007.

Q: What’s the oddest story you’ve ever covered?
That would probably be the “Blackwood bees” story. This beekeeper had his bees on a flatbed truck and when he went over a speed bump too fast, they all got out and swarmed his apartment complex. This was in the early ’80s and we didn’t have cell phones then; we used two-way radios. Anyway, I got called to go down there and I was scared to death of bees. I did the broadcast from my car. There were bees everywhere – all over my car. My producer said to me, “Boy, that was great – you really sounded scared!” and I said, “Sounded scared? I was scared!”

 

Coming Home

July 2008
Marine Corporal Chris Cunn­ing­ham spoke to us after return­ing home to Cherry Hill from Iraq in July 2008.

Q: Was the experience what you expected?
It was nothing like what I expected. You really can’t assume or expect anything when it comes to being in a combat zone. It’s a different feeling and one that nobody is used to. You have to always look over your shoulder. You’re in danger 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when you sleep, you always have one eye open.

 

 

Television’s Dr. Jennifer Caudle

May 2015
SJ’s family doc had just hit the national airwaves.

Q: How do you deal with TV viewers who might not agree with your medical advice?
Anyone who puts themselves out there like I have receives criticism. There tend to be hot topics – vaccines are a big one. I always get criticism, and sometimes I get hate mail or “nastygrams” on social media. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow, but it’s an important part of being out there. I work very hard to make sure everything I say on the news is evidence-based, meaning I’m giving facts to the best of our medical knowledge. It’s not personal – when I’m giving information, it’s the best information that we have at the time, but that doesn’t mean people always agree with it.

 

The World Walker

July 2016
Haddon Heights’ Tom Turcich on traveling the world, one road at a time in 2016.

Q: Why did you decide to go on a world walk?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. My friend Anne Marie Lynch passed away when I was 17, and that made me reconsider my values. I’d never been close to anyone who had died before, so I wanted to do things while I was alive. I wanted to find out about myself and the world. On a world walk, I would be forced to pass through little towns that you would normally take a bus through on your way to the next place.

 

Weathering the Storm

May 2016
Meteorologist Katie Fehlinger silenced the haters while pregnant with twins in 2016.

Q: Were you surprised by the hateful comments?
Absolutely. I’m in a business where you understand that people are going to have something to say about how you look. Image is a part of the job for me. But at the same time, I didn’t think I looked that bad. I’m creating life – what’s your superpower? I never expected bringing life into the world would be a source of hate for people. I was so shocked by how negative and hurtful people were. Sometimes it might be hard for people to remember the fact that, hey, there’s somebody on the receiving end of these things you think you are just putting out in the atmosphere.

 

The Politician Who Hates Politics

January 2018
State Senator Diane Allen in 2018 on leav­ing politics after serving 20-plus years as a Republican state senator.

Q: What strides have you seen for women over the two decades you held office?
When I was first elected to office, domestic violence wasn’t seen as much of a crime, and laws were not in favor of women who were being battered. Those laws had to be changed. Just look at what’s going on right now with sexual assault. It’s been going on for decades, but it was just “boys will be boys.” Of course, many women realized how horrific this was, but we weren’t able to get the focus on it. If we’d had 50 percent women in government, this would have been dealt with decades ago.

 

When Everything Changes

July 2019
After building a cheesesteak empire, Tony Luke talks about his unimaginable loss in 2019.

Q: Can you talk about losing Tony?
When you lose a child, it’s an ache that never stops. When Tony died, for the first month, I never cried – I wailed. The pain is so bad that you scream at the top of your lungs a spine-curdling scream that starts in your stomach and comes out your mouth. Two weeks later, I went back to work at the Tony Luke’s in Sicklerville – that’s where he worked before he died. A gentleman came in and said he was so sorry about my son. He asked if I minded if he asked how he died. “Was it cancer?” he asked me. When I said he died of a heroin overdose, he literally said, “See what they do? They destroy your life because of the choices they make.” And all I could think of was that my son heard that bile every day of his life. For the first time, I truly understood what it was like to walk in his shoes for a minute. And then I knew: my mission was to change the way people look at other human beings suffering from the disease.

January 2020
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