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Goodbye To Dear Friends

There's an old saying that death comes in threes. This reporter can only hope that's the case. This week CBS News and I have lost three friends, three teachers, three helpers and doers and dreamers. We miss them already.

All three of these friends, worked behind the scenes. You may never have heard of them. But we owe them our respect -- and our thanks.

Brian Lacey was a technological hero. His bosses at CBS News learned early that you could send Brian anywhere in the world, under the worst possible conditions -- war, fire, famine, flood -- and with a paper clip and a piece of chewing gum -- or less -- he could make all the equipment work, get your sound, get your pictures, get your story back to the folks back home. Our craft of journalism, and our ideal of fellowship depend on men and women like Brian.

Like Brian, Mark Harrington taught us something about courage. They were young men, with families, facing up to the toughest realities -- bravely.

At CBS News, Mark was a brilliant young producer, then a brilliant young executive. He was one of the first in a major news organization to recognize the importance of the Internet. He went on to help create MSNBC, a news organization that combines network journalism with Internet technology.

But Mark was more than a whiz kid. The halls of CBS-and, I daresay, the halls of MSNBC, too-are crowded with the colleagues he inspired, the friends he leaves behind.

My third loss this week is more personal. Madison Wolfe taught me photography at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, Texas.

Madison was one of many teachers there, who were so smart, so good at what they did, that you wondered what they were doing at a little school like Sam Houston State -- which in those days was so small we believed there were even people in Huntsville who had never heard of the place.

What Madison was doing there, was teaching. He didn't teach for the prestige, and he didn't teach for the money. He believed in teaching, believed with all his heart. He rejoiced in sharing his skills with young people -- who might never pick up a camera again -- or who might take those skills and use them as bricks in the foundation of a brighter future.

And, so on this summer afternoon I am lonely -- but grateful, grateful to have known and worked with three such as these. They made my work easier, and my life richer. Thanks.

Reported By Dan Rather
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved

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