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Veteran coverage earns OCTV, Service more state awards



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William Service (left), commander of Oxford American Legion Post 108, and OCTV station manager Don Huegerich hold two years worth of state awards. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
June 29, 2011 - Winning an award one year means you did a good job.

Winning the same award two years in a row means you're consistently doing good work.

The latter is most definitely the case when it comes to Oxford Community Television (OCTV) and William Service, commander of American Legion Post 108 in Oxford.

For the second consecutive year, OCTV won the state's Best Electronic Media Award for its coverage of veterans' issues and patriotic activities while Service won the Andy Gomolak Flying Eagle Award, which recognizes him as the Best Post Public Relations Promoter in the state.

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Both awards are from The American Legion, Department of Michigan, and were presented June 25 at the organization's 93rd annual state convention in Grand Rapids.

"I think it's kind of astounding to win it twice," said OCTV station manager Don Huegerich. "It's a real affirmation of the guys' work. What it tells me is I'm picking good guys to work there. They're loyal. They've been there for a long time and are working their butts off."

Beyond the station, Huegerich, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-75, noted the award is a recognition of the community as a whole and all it does to honor veterans, support the troops and engender patriotism.

"The community won this award," he said. "We just filmed the events. The community put them on."

Three-and-a-half hours of community footage was filmed last year and submitted for the award.

It included coverage of Oxford and Addison's Memorial Day ceremonies, Oxford Middle School's annual Americana Concert celebrating Veterans Day, the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Ridgelawn Memorial Cemetery, plus coverage of Post 108's many activities and functions including packing parties for U.S. troops serving overseas, the military history museum, Christmas and Easter events, gun shows and a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.

For Service, who's currently serving as post commander for the third time in four years, winning the Flying Eagle Award again is an affirmation of his goals to garner more publicity for Post 108 and educate the public about everything the group does to help veterans and the community in general.

"I was pretty excited the first time, but it's even more important to me the second time around," said Service, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1959-63. "I'm pretty happy."

Many of the aforementioned events and programs were filmed by Service, who is a producer, host and videographer for OCTV.

He produces and hosts a 30-minute OCTV program called "Our Community Access" that airs at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Service is no stranger to television. He's been working in the medium for almost 50 years. After he left the Air Force, he went to work as a part-time cameraman for a television station in 1963.

Over the years, he moved up the ladder, working as an engineer, a director in both the Flint and Detroit markets, sales manager, and station general manager for ABC and NBC affiliates in Lexington, Kentucky and Augusta, Georgia, respectively.

One of the highlights of Service's TV career was a one-hour program he produced about Roy and Patty Disney entitled "Disney Continues." In 1988, he won a National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) award for this program.

The award was presented to him by legendary entertainer Bob Hope.

"That was a pretty important thing for me," Service said.

Service retired in 2003, took a break for about a year, then went to work part-time for OCTV. "After my wife passed away, I got bored," he said. "I thought maybe I can help that little station."

OCTV is now in its 31st year of operation and covers everything in the Oxford-Addison area including local government meetings, community events, school plays and concerts, and Wildcat sporting events.

Depending on where a viewer lives and what level of cable services they receive, Charter subscribers can view it on channels 19, 97 or 991.

Those who subscribe to AT&T U-verse can view OCTV on Channel 99. And thanks to U-verse, OCTV programming is accessible to all of Oakland County, plus viewers in seven other counties.

Some OCTV programs can be viewed on-line simply by visiting oxfordcommunitytv.pegcentral.com.

"This little channel's been growing since about 2000," Huegerich noted.

Service is no stranger to television. He's been working in the medium for almost 50 years.

After he left the Air Force, he went to work as a part-time cameraman for a television station in 1963.

Over the years, he moved up the ladder, working as an engineer, a director in both the Flint and Detroit markets, sales manager, and station general manager for ABC and NBC affiliates in Lexington, Kentucky and Augusta, Georgia, respectively.

One of the highlights of Service's TV career was a one-hour program he produced about Roy and Patty Disney entitled "Disney Continues." In 1988, he won a National Associate of Television Executives award for this program that was presented to him by Bob Hope.

"That was a pretty important thing for me," Service said.

Service retired in 2003, took a break for about a year, then went to work part-time for OCTV.

"After my wife passed away, I got bored," he said. "I thought maybe I can help that little station."

OCTV is now in its 31st year of operation and covers everything in the Oxford-Addison area including local government meetings, community events, school plays and concerts, and Wildcat sporting events.

Depending on where a viewer lives and what level of cable services they receive, Charter subscribers can view it on channels 19, 97 or 991.

Those who subscribe to AT&T U-verse can view OCTV on Channel 99. And thanks to U-verse, OCTV programming is accessible to all of Oakland County, plus viewers in seven other counties.

OCTV programming can be viewed on-line by visiting oxfordcommunitytv.pegcentral.com.

"This little channel's been growing since about 2000," Huegerich noted.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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