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Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

My friend Tom Suiter

Posted December 18, 2008

When people ask me what Tom Suiter is like, my first thought is "first-class."  He is the epitome of a class act.

I've known Tom since I first started working at WRAL-TV back in 1996.  Since then, we've shared a lot of stories and laughs.   Tom is responsible for a lot of headaches -- all laughter-induced.  Dinners with Tom turn into 3-hour laugh riots.  I leave with aching sides from laughing so hard.  It's like recovering from a strenuous workout.

Tom is a thoughtful man.  I know about some of his random acts of kindness, but he'd prefer they stay private.  I will tell you about one involving me.  When we have big weather events that require wall-to-wall coverage, the station reserves hotel rooms for the staff.   I was working on the WRAL assignment desk during the big snowstorm in January 2000.  I went to work, but came down with the flu.  Management sent me and my germs back to the hotel. 

I got a knock on my hotel door the next afternoon.  It was a photographer-friend from the station.  She picked up Tom from his house that afternoon to bring him to work.  She told Tom about my sickness.  He stopped to buy me a good, healthy dinner and sent it along with her. 

Tom is a mentor.  He has helped start a lot of young careers in news and sports.  Tom's guidance and advice over the years have meant a lot to me and so many others.  His support helped me realize a dream.  It's intimidating to walk confidently through the WRAL newsroom when you're 18 years old and trying to figure out what you're doing.  Tom is one of the friendliest faces they see.  His decency, his willingness to share a good laugh and his penchant to break into song (!) all work to put you at ease. 

You know that he's a legend.  A broadcaster par excellence.  But I wanted to tell you that he's a human being par excellence.

I am grateful that I can count him as a friend.

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  • Right_Is_Right Dec 18, 2008

    Great story, Brian. Thanks.

    Let's go to the clips...!

  • ladybug68 Dec 18, 2008

    Brian,
    What a wonderful and caring tribute!! We will miss Tom and his fun. Maybe someday while wandering aroung the "Quay" I may meet you as well!!

    Shari

  • holmesap Dec 18, 2008

    Tom, just wanted to say sports news will never be the same without you. I really enjoy listening to the way you told the stories. I had your father as a doctor when he was living and I see a lot of him in you. He was a great guy and so are you. Wishing you the best in the future. Tks for all you have done.

  • pwilliamson53 Dec 18, 2008

    Thanks for a job well done from a very class act person. Reading about his willingness to help others and his friendly attitude to make everyone more at ease is a compliment to the Great person he is. Have watched him for years and will truely miss his laughs and jokes and his funny video plays of the day. A class act Tom and many thanks for making sport so enjoyable to watch. Best Wishes

  • davidgnews Dec 18, 2008

    I've watched and enjoyed Tom ever since he began his job with WRAL. It was a lift, especially after seeing not-so-happy news stories earlier.

    I'm REALLY going to miss hearing him say: "Boo-chilly cold outside."

    God bless Tom & Julie (and animals).

  • cornfused Dec 18, 2008

    Mr. Suiter came to our high school in the early nineties. I will never forget how he talked to us teen agers like adults and really listened to us as we talked. What a legend he is to WRAL!! Glad he will still be around for Friday Night Football!!

  • Beach Music Forever Dec 18, 2008

    Class is the word I think of when it comes to Tom Suiter. He was such a friend to the high school game, that will be missed. Best of luck to a true gentleman.

  • farleyfarleyfarleyhaffar Dec 18, 2008

    I've been a viewer for 40+ years. Sports is being left in good hands but it won't be the same. Thanks for the memories, Tom. Enjoy your life's next adventure, whatever it may be. You've earned it!

  • Bull City Girl Dec 18, 2008

    Another friendly face gone from WRAL. Wishing you all the best and we will miss you Tom.

  • DontBelieveTheHype Dec 18, 2008

    "Let's go to the video tape" is indelibly etched into my memory. I'm sad that he's leaving! He's a great, energetic broadcaster...

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