As WTOL and its viewers say goodbye to Chrys Peterson who is leaving the anchor desk after 20 years, it is her family who is benefiting from the change.
When Chrys moved to Toledo almost 20 years ago, she didn't know what life had in store for her. She thought maybe she'd stay a few years and then move on, but life happened. She fell in love, made a home, had a family, and just as important in this story, Toledo fell in love with her.
Chrys married Tom Runnels, a coach for the Toledo Mud Hens at the time. He's now the bench coach for the Colorado Rockies baseball team. That means he leaves in February for spring training and doesn't come home until October.
Chrys and Tom have a 13-year-old daughter, Riley.
"It's awesome to have a mom with this job, and it's fun to have all my friends come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I saw your mom on TV last night!'" Riley said.
But everything Chrys Peterson has given to the Toledo community has not come without some sacrifice.
"When you grow up and you have your mom there to help you with your homework and tuck you in at night – I didn't really have that," Riley said.
Riley has grown up in a house full of love, but five nights a week, it's usually a babysitter that shuttles her between play practice, voice lessons and basketball games.
Chrys has become very aware that she only has four years until her little girl graduates and heads out to conquer the world. She knows it's valuable time, games, plays and performances they won't get back.
"She's done a tremendous job juggling mother, wife, job, home, everything," Tom said. "When I leave, it's all on her, so she's really had to shoulder the burden."
Now the station's loss is her family's gain.
"I'm really excited to hang out and talk instead of just always having to do it over the phone," Riley said. "It's amazing to me that she's so strong and she can do this, and I'm really happy for her. And it means a lot because I know she's going to be here and she's going to be able to go to my basketball games and my performances for theater."
Spend five minutes with Riley and you know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. At 13, she's compassionate, well-spoken, wise beyond her years and independent.
We don't know what Chrys will do next, but there is no doubt it will be something remarkable, and certainly she will find success.
"She is the most gorgeous, independent, brilliant woman, and she's the most amazing mom anyone can ever ask for," Riley said. "Because she's fabulous. She's my biggest role model in this world."
"She's a very, very caring person. She's a servant, she puts other people's needs ahead of her own," Tom said. "She just astounds me each and every day, of everything she's accomplished in her life up ‘til this point, and I know for everything she's going to accomplish. She's a tremendous woman."
Riley and Tom's messages for Chrys:
"Mom, I think I would just tell you: Do whatever makes you happy. You've done this job for so long and you've loved it. And I'm so proud of you that you're starting a new chapter in your life, and I hope that whatever you decide to do makes you just as happy."
"Chrys, I hope, obviously, that this next phase of your life you find as much happiness as you've found in the first part of your life. Certainly we are very proud of you, and understand this next chapter is maybe a little strange, and maybe even a little nerve-wracking or scary, but certainly we know that there are great things in store for you. And I just want you to be happy with the decisions you make and know that Riley and I back you in everything that you do."
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