It has always been about trust. Through the lens of a camera, he developed an unparalleled relationship built on that word but after 36 years Ron Howes said farewell to NewsChannel 5 on Wednesday.
“When the weather gets violent here and you know it often does, there's only one place to turn to and that's to Ron to see what he's saying about it,” says former NewsChannel 5 anchor Chris Clark.
To do what he did and to accomplish what he has meant sacrificing a lot over the last 36 years.
“I think if you don't have a spouse and a family who understands that, it’s going to be very difficult to do this job and I've been blessed with both,” the 68-year-old said recently in an interview.
He is so proud of his family, so in love with Cindy, his wife of 46 years. Yet, to be on the air for the viewers of middle Tennessee often meant missing time with his family.
“There were lots of years when Cindy raised the kids. I wasn't there,” he said about some of the tougher aspects of being a chief meteorologist during severe weather.
In television, 36 years is an eternity and for 36 years, Ron Howes has walked into NewsChannel 5 with purpose and unwavering dedication.
“What kept me coming back here? I guess the best answer to that is that I've always felt appreciated,” Ron said with a bit of a smile.
For Ron, it has never been about the commercials or recognition, it has been about the weather and keeping the viewers of middle Tennessee safe.
“I've never seen anyone get so excited about bad weather. He just begins to shake when the weather gets bad,” recalls former sports anchor Hope Hines.
Ron was always at his best when Mother Natures was at her worst.
“Ron doesn't have a teleprompter. It all comes from inside his heart and inside his head,” Hope Hines adds about his longtime friend and former colleague.
For Ron the very worst came in May of 2010 when the rain started and wouldn't stop.
“It was affecting large portions of our viewing area and it went on for a long time. After a while it takes an emotional toll on you,” Ron recalls.
But now comes the hard part.
“He is that person who comforts people in pretty scary situations /and I think they've developed a friendship (with him),” says Kristin Priesol who anchored with Ron for close to a decade.
“We will do our best to live up to the reputation Ron has put in this department but there is still a little of that we can't get back,” meteorologist Lelan Statom says about Ron’s retirement.
Ron has been the steady hand at the helm of our ship for three and a half decades - helping us and you weather the toughest of storms.
Parting ways isn't easy.
“I'm just gonna miss him. He's a comfort, he's strong and he's just there. He's just a great friend,” Vicki Yates said as a few tears fell down her face.
But the sunny skies of retirement are calling Ron’s name.
“The station and the profession are losing institutional memory. Memory that goes back and experiences that no other weather person other than Ron can possibly have,” Chris Clark adds.
“I would wish him a forecast with no storm alerts and a lot of starry nights with his beautiful wife Cindy,” former anchor Amy Marsalis said.
While he may no longer be on TV every night you can trust that if there's weather Ron will be somewhere watching.
Ron said his final goodbye at the end of his last 6 p.m. newscast, and was greeted by friends and family at his retirement party.