File this in the "I Knew Him When" category wherein I rarely get to stash items, except for the guy from ninth grade algebra/senior year English who now plays in the NFL. What makes this instance even better is that unlike Todd Heap, George Polk Award-winning journalist Ryan Gabrielson will actually take my calls (plus, I have mildly embarrassing photos of him from college).
For those who don't know him, Ryan is a reporter for The East Valley Tribune (my hometown paper), who wrote an expose of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, titled "Reasonable Doubt." You can read the story in its entirety here and you can learn all about the Polk Awards from an article in Monday's New York Times.
Ryan shares the award with 13 other reporters (or teams) from around the country, and he won in the category of justice reporting. I remember talking to Ryan nearly a year ago about the article and his passion, devotion and determination was clearly evident.
Who knew the nervous blond guy wandering the Arizona Daily Wildcat newsroom circa 2000, with a notebook permanently lodged in his back pocket would go on to become the award-winning journalist (and fantastic husband and father) he is today? I'm sure it helps that his wife Rachel is incredibly supportive and that his daughter Olivia is super cool (plus she freakin loves me).
We've had a lot of adventures together, and over all the years, I've never been more proud of Ryan and his enviable dedication to bringing people the truth. Congratulations Toughguy!!!