Tag Archive | amanda crawford

The Sisterhood Is Real

As long as I can remember, I’ve had very vivid dreams. I swear I dreamt of my husband before we met, and I fully admit that I am less than pleasant with him if I have a nightmare about him falling for another woman. I dream about flying quite a bit.. and dreams about falling, especially careening off the Missouri River bridge, FREAK ME OUT.

This week, I had a dream about my pal, Alex Bisson. So random – I haven’t seen Alex since last summer! But that’s how my whackadoodle brain works sometimes.

I dreamt I was supposed to be emceeing a big awards ceremony. Everyone was dressed up.. and I was in sweatpants and a t-shirt. Then, to make matters worse, I was petting dogs at the animal exhibit (because why wouldn’t there be an animal exhibit at a high-profile awards ceremony?) and a goat threw up all over me. WHAT TO DO? I suddenly remembered that across the high school (because that’s suddenly where the event was held) there might have been a spare set of clothes in the KETV wardrobe closet (which also happened to be at said high school). I sprinted there as fast as I could, made it to the closet, and nearly burst into tears when I realized there was NOTHING that would work. I opened the door…. and there stood Alex, saying “I can help!” She magically found me one of her anchoring outfits, helped me change, and I rushed back to the event where I joined Rob and elegantly shared with the audience how I was late because a goat threw up on me. Everyone had a nice laugh and we moved on – the event was a success and no one remembered me being late or looking like a dirty hamper.


Plankton in Brain

I seriously wonder sometimes what is going on in my hairspray infused skull. The next morning though, the overwhelming feeling I woke up with was peace and gratitude for Alex, that she was there for me to help.

Alex and I became friends when she began working at KETV as a reporter, then the First News Anchor. I was asked a question frequently in my time at KETV: do you get along with the other women? I think there was an assumption that we were competitors; we were all vying for air time, the same prime time spots, and therefore, we must have all had secret contempt for each other. SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH.


This photo was taken in October at Adrian Whitsett’s wedding in Florida. My caption with this on Facebook and Twitter: my heart is happy. The women shown here all worked for KETV at some point (two still do!) We were not competitors; we were teammates. We turned to each other for advice and support. We cheered each other on when we found success. We shared clothes, makeup, hairspray (A LOT of hairspray), and insight. In a way, we were very much sisters, connections that we confirmed were still strong during this wonderful trip. Because we were all facing similar challenges and comparable journeys, we understood one another in ways others could not.

I see the same love and support in another sisterhood: the Miss Nebraska Organization.

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Yes, each of these women wants, or has worked for, the same thing: the title of Miss Nebraska. But the environment surrounding them is not Miss Congeniality brawling, gossip-mongering, or vindictive game-playing. They form friendships that span years. They learn how to support like-minded women, an attribute that will serve them throughout their lives. And when they feel alone, juggling service, school, family and work… they reach out to the sisters who can empathize because they are doing it, too.


That phrase has become a universal message in recent weeks, one of the toughest times the Miss America Organization has faced in decades. Our program has been in national headlines, not for the goodwill we inspire, the opportunities we offer or the relationships we nurture, but for an email scandal and ensuing criticism of our organization as a whole.

Every time I see a tweet or post from someone questioning why we have beauty pageants in 2018, or why we parade around young women in swimsuits like a meat market… I fight the urge to reply. I want to write about the scholarships we offer thousands of young women every year. I want to write about the networking opportunities this program provides, the lessons in confidence, public speaking and presence, personal composure and more. I want to share my own experiences that only happened because I was once a Miss Nebraska local titleholder. I want to tell those critics about our success stories: the doctors, award-winning journalists, philanthropists, business owners, teachers, and more who all gained incomparable life skills and attributes because of this program.

What is wrong with BEAUTY? What is wrong with a woman feeling beautiful, and promoting beauty on the INSIDE as well as out?

I get the swimsuit argument; truly, I do. But I ask critics to look beyond their initial assessment: we live in a world of obesity, indulgence, heart disease, inactivity, high cholesterol… and let’s be frank, when you know you are going to be on stage in a swimsuit, you WORK HARD. You hit the gym, you eat clean, you BECOME HEALTHIER. We are hopefully building the foundation of health in these women that will last years beyond their time competing for a crown. More so, our program is evolving; we see women of varying shapes and sizes from the local to national level. Health is not defined as ‘skinny’; we see muscle, positive lifestyles, CONFIDENCE. In my years attending the Miss Nebraska Pageant, I have left not feeling ashamed for the women who walk that stage, but wanting to BE BETTER myself, and wanting to work to be the healthiest and most confident I can be.

I don’t post any of this when I see those negative remarks…. because HATERS GONNA HATE. There will ALWAYS be negative assumptions and unfounded opinions about our program. They don’t want to listen, and I would argue, many haven’t taken the time to learn more about what Miss Nebraska and the Miss America Organization stand for TODAY.


To those who WILL listen, we will show the world the value of this program through our titleholders’ stories. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to join me over the next few months as I introduce you to the women competing for the titles of Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. They are scholars, public servants, artists. They are ART, they are inspiring, they are ambassadors of goodwill. They are proof of what our organization truly stands for; not objectifying women, but empowering them.

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I’ve written before about all of the positives I gained from being a local titleholder in this program. Cash scholarships. Speaking skills and confidence. Lessons in networking and learning from criticism. Learning how to take care of myself. Getting to sing in front of thousands of people. Traveling across the country. And learning the importance of supporting other women; in pageants, career and life, we are only competing with ourselves, not each other.

Haters, go ahead and hate. #TheSisterhoodIsReal. Miss America is relevant and empowering. This organization, much like my time at KETV, helped instill in me that we as women are better when we support each other and surround ourselves with others who are pushing to be the best versions of themselves.

Alex, my fellow anchor at KETV, is also a Miss America alum. She’s an NCAA record-holder in swimming, a goosebumps-inspiring singer, one hell of a softball player, a majestic woman and a beautiful human being.

We believe in this sisterhood… and in helping a sister out when goats attack. Alex, thanks for the outfit.



The Miss Nebraska Pageant takes place June 7-9 in North Platte, Nebraska.

CLICK HERE to follow the Miss Nebraska Organization on Twitter, CLICK HERE to follow on Facebook, CLICK HERE to follow on Instagram.


COMING UP.. Tristen Wecker, Miss Fur Trade Days 2018

To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2014 through 2017 click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!


Like what you’re reading? Consider supporting Anchor’s Away! Email brandipetersenomaha@gmail.com for information on advertising.

Hail To The Chief

One of the coolest things about this Throwback Thursday Husker series we’ve been sharing this football season is seeing how many different paths these former players have taken since leaving Lincoln.  I’m not sure why I’m so surprised.  Think of the people in your graduating classes from high school and college and ask yourself, where are they now?  Of the 100+ players on the roster every season at Nebraska, there are bound to be any number of careers and futures these young men pursue.

Today’s featured Husker didn’t dream of or plan for the career he ended up in, but he calls it ‘great’, and has risen to one of the highest ranks in his department.

john mccormick

Assistant Fire Chief John McCormick (thanks to Nebraska Athletics for the photo!)

By our guess, there are seven or eight men on the Omaha Fire Department who played football at Nebraska.  Ironically, the highest ranking member of that small club has kept his time as ‘Captain’ a secret at work.

“Most don’t know,” McCormick told me in a recent interview.  “Most of the guys on the fire department weren’t even a twinkle in their dads’ eye when I played.”


1987, John McCormick was in his senior season, his third year starting as Nebraska’s right guard.  That year, he was named Team Co-Captain, First Team All-American, First Team All-Big 8 and an Academic All-Big 8 player.  McCormick’s Huskers earned respect by playing some of the biggest names in football that season.

“Arizona State, UCLA, South Carolina, big power teams,” said McCormick.  “But all the hype was usually around Oklahoma.  That was always a big rivalry back then.”

87 nu ok

Screen grab from our friend Jake Jacobsen at HuskerTapes.com; watch his clips of the 1987 NU vs OK game here!

McCormick, an Omaha native and graduate of Gross High School, is still passionate about today’s Huskers.  His favorite: Nebraska’s star running back Ameer Abdullah.

“I think he’s a quality person, he has good character,” said McCormick.  “And he’s a very good running back.  I think he’s going to do well in his life.”

So has McCormick, who is now saving lives as an Omaha firefighter.  A quick search of the KETV archives shows McCormick was one of the first responders at Molotov cocktail fires, at 2-alarm house fires, at scenes where firefighters risked their own lives to save strangers.

January 20, 2014 was no exception.

international nutrition collapse

Then Battalion Chief John McCormick was one of the first firefighters to arrive at the International Nutrition plant minutes after the building collapsed, trapping workers inside.

 “We had to rely on training and on our experience throughout our career to do the best we could,” said McCormick.  “We were able to get a few people out.  Sad that we couldn’t get everybody out.”

Two men died that day.  Firefighters rescued at least nine others who were hurt, but survived.  I remember anchoring our coverage that day while reporters Kyle Gravlin and Amanda Crawford reported from the field, and none of us knew how many were trapped or lost inside.  We did know firefighters were inside, trying to find them, NOT knowing how stable the plant was or what could happen around them at any moment.

Just last month, seven of those firefighters were given Medals of Courage and/or Lifesaving Medals for their heroic efforts that day.  At the same ceremony, Battalion Chief John McCormick was promoted to Assistant Chief.

“I consider it to be a lot like football in that it’s a team sport,” said McCormick.  “It’s a team job.  You need to accomplish a lot by using other people.  The old cliché, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.”

And as the Huskers are hopefully gaining strength during this bye week, preparing for new Nebraska rival Wisconsin, McCormick offers this advice.

“This is such an important part of their life, but it’s only a short part of their life,” said McCormick, now a married father of eight in addition to his duties with the fire department.  “Play hard, practice hard, prepare well and leave everything out on the field.”

To read more about #61 John McCormick, check out his bio with Nebraska Athletics!


Click here to Throwback to the Class of 2003, Jammal Lord!

Next week’s Throwback Thursday Husker.. the Class of 2003, Brett Lindstrom!

Going The Extra Mile

Two of my coworkers ran marathons this morning.

I’m going to give you a minute to let that sink in…

TWO OF MY COWORKERS RAN MARATHONS THIS MORNING.  Yea, as I was prying my booty off the floor to get a second cup of half coffee/half Coffeemate, Alex Hoffman and Amanda Crawford were RUNNING MARATHONS. 26.2 miles.

alex amanda

Beauties, I bow down to you!! AMAZING!!!

These women are just magnificent.  As athletes, as journalists, as PEOPLE.

Alex is our fantastic First News anchor with John Oakey, and if you haven’t checked them out, IT’S AN ABSOLUTE MUST.  DVR them if you’re not up that early.  Their energy is contagious–they deliver the days news with a smile and positive attitude, despite getting up around 2am (or earlier!) to get to work on time for that early morning shift.  Check out Alex’s Facebook page; you can truly see how much they enjoy their jobs and working together.

Everything I just said about Alex… DITTO FOR MISS AMANDA!  Amanda is our First News Weekend Anchor with David Earl, and she ALSO is articulate, stunning, and energetic despite pulling into the Newsplex before some of us even go to bed for the night.  Amanda always has a way of making ME smile at home; no easy task before coffee on an early weekend morning 🙂

Both of these young women can also DELIVER when it comes to serious news.  When the International Nutrition building exploded and collapses, Alex anchored our continuous coverage while Amanda reported from the field.  They were incredible.  Folks, it is no easy task to just talk.. for hours.. not knowing what will happen next.  They presented the story without any added drama or superlatives, so important as journalists on such a tragic day.  They were articulate and informative, trustworthy and empathetic.  They made me very proud to be part of the same team.

Outside the Newsplex, I just love these ladies.  Alex and I play softball together (and FYI.. just 36 hours before she ran this half-marathon, SHE SMACKED A DOUBLE past the outfielders heads Friday night..), and have a love/obsession with Miss America.  Amanda and I had bond over country music and gymnastics.  We love them.. maybe a little too much 🙂

These women are just incredible.  They run MARATHONS for crying out loud (Amanda reported every few miles during hers!! How is that possible?!?!?)


Now, I’d like to introduce you to two other incredible women you may not know.  The ‘cheerleaders’ if you will, here at KETV.

kelly renee

Producers Kelly Shoff and Renee Ludvik

These women ‘make the magic happen’ so to speak.  All day they are busy gathering information, making phone calls, and writing the newscasts we present to you at night.  When something bad happens behind the scenes, it’s their job to rearrange all the pieces so you at home never know.  9 times out of 10, you don’t; they’re that good.

Perfect example: Thursday afternoon, something within our system crashed and we lost all of our commercials.  Technology isn’t perfect–it happens.  Did you have any idea??  PROBABLY NOT, because Renee rearranged her newscast, kept Melissa and Adrian in the loop through their earpieces as to what was going on, while Kelly managed a team to quickly find other stories from our sister stations around the country to fill the time void.  It was truly incredible to see these ladies in action.  SEAMLESS.

Renee started out just like me here at KETV–an intern who worked her tail off and earned a full-time job.  She’s worked literally every shift we have here at KETV and has become an incredible producer.  When breaking news happens, Renee is A SEA OF CALM, confident, she gets it DONE.  And when someone calls in sick or takes vacation, Renee is often the one who steps up to the plate to fill in someone else’s shift.

When that horrible day at Von Maur happened in December 2007, Kelly stepped into the producer’s box.  I don’t have any idea how many hours she was up there, with no break, producing our coverage on air.  She handled phone interviews, live reporters, video, new information… EVERYTHING.

But there’s more to Kelly and Renee then their loyalty and incredible work ethic here at KETV.  Look at their smiles in those photos–their INNER beauty just shining through.  These women are ALWAYS the first to tell coworkers that they look nice.  That they enjoyed their story the night before.  They take the time, even when they are crazy-busy, to watch video of your kids doing something cute.  They LISTEN.  These are the people who make a day worthwhile, the cheerleaders who make you take a breath and say ‘it’s going to be a good day.’


I am in AWE of the amazing accomplishments I see in my coworkers everyday here at KETV.  But I am equally blown away by, and am SO grateful for, positive energy and just plain KINDNESS.  As great as it is to feel a sense of accomplishment, it is WONDERFUL to get a compliment on that, whatever it might be.

SO THANK YOU Alex, Amanda, Kelly and Renee.  For inspiring me to run a little further (or at all!) and to go the extra mile to try to make a difference in someone’s day.