(West Columbia) February 27, 2006 - When Susan Aude announced her retirement, the e-mails and phone calls started streaming in. Some want to say goodbye, others wish her well, and even more want to let Susan know just how much she's been an inspiration.
WIS' Kara Gormley interviewed one of those people, who say Susan's done more for him than she will ever know.
Sometimes life has a way of knocking us down a few notches, and that's what John Hornsby says happened to him, "You hate for a traumatic event to give you a different perspective on life, but it did for me."
On a rainy night back in 1988, John's car hydroplaned and crashed. He broke his back in the accident and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
But John says when you feel broken there's usually something or someone there to help pick up the pieces. For John, that someone was Susan Aude, "I think she's an incredible role model to individuals with disabilities out there, with that spirit of never giving up."
But John says he noticed Susan way before the accident, "She was pretty much part of the family. You saw her everyday."
John grew up watching Susan on WIS. But after his accident, he saw her in a whole different light, "I remember years ago when I was injured back in '88 in my small town of Camden. You didn't see a lot of people with disabilities out in the community."
Yet there she was, Susan behind the anchor desk at the top-rated television station in the Midlands.
John says when he watched the news, it's what he didn't notice about Susan that he remembers, "I don't think I ever viewed her as being an individual with a disability. I've always thought of her as a pretty good news anchor."
That's what John wanted, people to notice him and not focus on his disability. So he worked hard going from client to counselor to consultant at South Carolina's Vocational Rehabilitation Center. Now he's an administrator.
Part of his job is to evaluate clients from around the state.
John Hornsby's never met Susan Aude. He probably never will. But he says his life is forever changed because of her.
Reported by Kara Gormley