Paying It Forward

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Jamie Warrick at The Salvation Army in Lynchburg.  In cooperation with Sheetz, they organize a Christmas party for kids who are of limited means.  The children get some nice gifts, there are lots of snacks, and Santa Claus makes an appearence.

Jamie told me that there was one girl who had a very specific wish: To meet Sean Sublette.

Humbling.  Sometimes those of us in the broadcast meteorology community wonder if what we do matters.  There is a lot of weather information out there, and we can feel like only one small sound in a vast weather discord.  Especially in the internet age, there is a lot of complaining and shouting about the weather and the folks who forecast it.

But the kids are still too young to be jaded.

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I was happy to meet 7-year old JaKerra Reed on Saturday.  I brought her a kids’ weather kit, a tornado-in-a-bottle, and I was happy to oblige her with an autographed picture.

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Thanks to Jamie Warrick for snapping the pictures.

I remember the times I watched the local weather fellows in Richmond as a kid. My mother still has a picture of me from the late ’70s scribbling down a forecast on our green chalkboard in our South Richmond utility room.

And even in my early teens, there was the excitement of going to the television station to meet the meteorologists who brought the weather into our homes every evening. Certainly no internet back then, and I couldn’t get my parents to spring for cable, so there was no Weather Channel at our house.

We do have a responsibility to pay it forward, and it is a very rewarding one.  The look on JaKerra’s face was priceless.  I made sure to remind her that she could be a meteorologist too, and that no one should tell her otherwise.

The tornado-in-a-bottle may get lost or busted. But if I have given JaKerra a cherished childhood memory she can carry forward through her life, it is one of the most humbling gifts I can give.

And the look on her face when I arrived was an incredible gift to me.  There are few things more rewarding than bringing joy to a child.

Thirty years hence, I still remember what a couple of guys in their late 20s did for me in Richmond as a pesky adolescent, and I am still grateful to them.

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About seansublette

Meteorologist at Climate Central. Broadcast meteorologist in Virginia from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Penn State alumnus. Loves baseball and the rock band Rush. Views are independent of my employer. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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2 Responses to Paying It Forward

  1. As an aspiring meteorologist in his thirties, I’m still appreciative of what more than a few broadcast meteorologists have done for me as recently as just last week. That admiration of those guys on TV doesn’t always fade with age.

  2. Jamie Warrick says:

    Thank YOU so much for making one child’s dream come true, Mr. Sublette! After 16 years of helping in Angel Tree it always amazes me the small dreams so many of our kids have and how willing everyone I’ve ever called has always been to help us help them. We couldn’t do any of the work we do without the support of people like you! That one hour of your life provided so much more than to encourage her to follow her dreams – it touched her entire life and the lives of many others; reminding her entire family and others that people still care about others and value our children.

    My prayer is that God will bless you and your family abundantly this Christmas season!

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