Tom McGee was an Anchor in Charleston, WV for years.
He lost his job after being busted for DUI, not once but three times. So, with no more Anchor job, McGee had to figure out what his next move would be.
In 2006, after 35 years as a television anchorman, he took that now-or-never plunge and enrolled in law school, a dream that had nagged him for decades. Now a lawyer with Mark Hunt Associates, he concentrates on personal injury and criminal cases, many of them DUIs. He wants fervently to keep them from repeating the same mistakes he made. It's his way of making amends.
In his first real interview since his turnaround, he talked openly about his early life, his television career, the drinking problem that bedeviled him and his new settled life in the world of law.
"I was a stupid drinker. I got charged three times with DUI. I pleaded guilty twice. It took a whipping for me to understand what was going on. Some overnight visits to the regional jail is enough to know that's not a place you want to be."After some years without being in a solid relationship, I was just a guy whose social life depended on roaming around with buddies in bars."
In '97, incident No. 2, I went to a substance abuse center. In 2003, after incident No. 3, I had to retrace some of those steps. I've had my failures, enough to know there are certain mistakes you pay dearly for."I've been given great opportunities. I have much to be thankful for. I'm not bitter about the past. It just took me too long to learn. I don't want others to make that same mistake."
My area is criminal law and personal injury. I do a lot of DUI cases. I instinctively want to help the people who are going through the same things I went through. It's kind of like trying to fix the past."I don't have a chemical dependency or physical addiction. I thought I did, because I wanted that to be an answer. I took tests from experts who said that doesn't seem to be it. But it didn't matter. People said to me, 'If you have social and legal problems as a result of drinking, you can call that being an alcoholic.'"I've tried to make a mark in some productive areas. I know people haven't forgotten about it, and I haven't either. I don't want to forget it. I continue to remind myself."
As for missing TV News? "You miss some of it, and some parts you don't miss. Life is like that. Some of it is good, and some of it is not. But broadcasting on balance was a great career for me."I've had a great life. I've got a 10th-floor window here. That's not so bad. I had to take some risks to get this stuff on the wall, but it all worked out."It took a lot to get this degree on the wall, but it's been worth it. I think it would have always haunted me because I wanted so long ago to do it."You know what my kicker is? It's a crummy day out there right? Spring will be here soon. And then summer. I used to want to rush that. Now I say, maybe I'd better slow this down and try to enjoy where I am."
H/T WV Gazette