A Quiet Supporter in Times of Crisis

Apr 2, 2007  •  Post A Comment

By Tom Brokaw, Special to TelevisionWeek

When the Central Park jogger was attacked and in critical condition in the hospital I got a call from Bob Wright asking if I would be in touch with her firm to offer financial and medical assistance for her and her family from NBC/GE (which has major connections to the medical community because of its technology—CAT scans, etc.). He was adamant he didn’t want any publicity for the offer. She worked for a prosperous Wall Street firm and her boss was deeply touched by Bob’s offer.

That was typical. I always said that between them, Bob and Suzanne knew more about the families of NBC employees than any of the rest of us—engagements, marriages, births, illnesses. They would send gifts or make inquiries to be sure everything was OK.

When we had the anthrax attack in our newsroom it was, for all the obvious reasons, an acutely traumatic time, especially for my assistant and the other young woman who was affected. Bob became deeply, personally involved in making sure they had everything they needed medically, personally, professionally and financially. He visited with them and called me repeatedly to check on their well-being. He made a very difficult time a little easier with his compassion and determination to do the right thing.

He’s been a brilliant executive, but for the rank and file he’ll be remembered as a combination of friendly parish priest, favorite coach and the boss who always remembered your name.