From Ralph Hipp
Sometimes, an organization will release some big news right before, during or a few minutes after the time a television station is airing its news. But when Melissa told me a few minutes after the start of the 6:00 news Wednesday, that the MDA announced Jerry Lewis was retiring.. THAT is a big deal. (She mentioned it to our entire audience at the end of the news.)
When a person of Jerry Lewis' stature retires after a globally-recognized career spanning 50 years, the big 800-pound elephant news question of the night is.. who could the Muscular Dystrophy Association possibly get to replace him?
It's entire possible that his title of National Chairman could be retired, too. Dr. R. Rodney Howell serves as Chairman as the Board of Directors of MDA, and of course, very few of us would recognize him if we saw him walking down the streets of Tucson or Topeka.
That's what Jerry gave to the MDA. He founded it, and his visibility, his face and his energy have kept the assocation alive and on television for all these years. It has fueled the gigantic donations that corporations, small businesses, rich Americans and good ole regular folks donate to his cause of fighting, and finding the cures for more than 40 muscle diseases.
Melissa and I will be hosting the much-shorter telethon on the Sunday night before Labor Day this fall. That decision had already been made. And now Mr. Lewis won't even be appearing on the mini-version.
Let us know your thoughts about this world-class humanitarian, as Dr. Howell called him when the news came out at 6:00 last night. Could there be an actor, or a medical expert out there, who after 50 years would want to become the second National Chairman of the MDA? Thanks, Jerry and love from us all in Northeast Kansas. ralph