11 years ago, Matt Turner spent a year learning from me. On Wednesday, as hundreds celebrated Matt's life, the message was clear: learn from Matt and live a life of significance.
Pastor Greg Kirksey explained the difference between success and significance: success adds value to your life, while significance adds value to others' lives. A great message for a crowd that included a lot of folks who spend their work days in front of the camera.
Matt had both. I don't think I've ever worked with someone who was so driven to succeed. Nothing was going to prevent Matt from reaching his goals. As many learned Wednesday, Matt spent most of his professional life at less than 100 percent physically. On the air, Matt Turner was always 100 percent. Away from the camera, he was always respectful of others.
No stage was ever too big for Matt. His mom will tell you that he had an unfair advantage, he learned first hand from his preacher dad. Matt loved the big stories and interviews. He would have been thrilled to see Jeff Long at his service. Matt had a memorable interview with Long. He also had a great one-on-one visit with Nolan Richardson. In our final conversation, Matt wanted me to know how close he was to landing Bobby Petrino's first interview.
Matt Turner was going to do good things for Channel 11 and Arkadelphia.
Professionally, this is a big loss for KTHV. Matt was their Andrew Luck or RG3 - the new face of their franchise. Channel 11 was all set to rollout a big Matt Turner campaign. It's hard to say if Matt would have provided an immediate jolt in the ratings, but he would have upped everyone's game. He showed up in Little Rock armed with ideas on how to improve the product.
During a morning run about three weeks ago, I ran into Matt's wife Julee, little Presslee, their overachieving dog Romeo, and Julee's mom. Matt's mother-in-a-law was quick to point out that everybody in Arkadelphia would now be watching Channel 11. She was probably right. On the drive home from the run, I was already considering the option of losing 10,000 viewers.
Matt was already calling Arkadelphia High "my Badgers." I think over time, Matt - who was a proud OBU Tiger - would have even adopted Henderson State.
The important others in Matt's life are hurting. His mom and brother have been dealt a lifetime of heartache in the past 7 years, and the love of Matt's life, Julee, is now little 10 month old Preslee's only parent. Click here to find out more about fundraising efforts for Julee and Preslee. In the end I learned a lot more from Matt than he could have ever learned from me.