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Share Your Holidays campaign inspires NewsChannel 7 Australian viewer to change careers, encourages helping others

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 3:21 PM CST
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BRISBANE, Queensland (WSAW) - NewsChannel 7′s Share Your Holidays campaign is having an effect on a global scale. One dedicated WSAW viewer in Australia completely changed his career path because of it and as the campaign continues a little differently this year, he encourages people to give because it provides joy to more than just the receiver.

How did someone all the way in Brisbane, Australia with no ties to Wisconsin become one of the biggest fans of a north-central Wisconsin news station? It is a long story that even Wade Couch, our super fan, says takes a very involved conversation.

“I won’t lie,” Couch said, “It’s hard to explain.”

We will do our best to walk you through it.

NewsChannel 7 started trying out the new Facebook Live feature back in 2016. Couch was watching another video on Facebook.

“You know when you’ve completed watching a video and it rolls into the next video? And that next video was you guys,” he recalled.

It was March 6. The video he watched was not live at the time, but he watched the whole thing.

“The whole behind-the-scenes access to a newscast just fascinated me from the get-go,” he explained.

He clicked the subscribe button so he would get notifications whenever we went live. Minutes later, we did. He said hello, we responded back. He made some comments, asked some questions, and he has kept in touch ever, watching Sunrise 7 as his evening news for the day.

“It was my bedtime show, nightcap and off I went to bed,” he laughed.

In the meantime, the Google Street View driver based in Brisbane, Queensland was getting an itch to make a change. He enjoyed traveling the continent and seeing new places, but he was away from home six months out of the year in a car by himself.

He continued watching our live streams. Then came winter and the Gas Pump event.

“Caught your live stream of Share Your Holidays, all you brave out in minus whatever. I’m not sure of the conversion to Celsius here in Australia, but you guys were rugged up and it looked like it was snowing and you guys had all of these smiles on your faces, you were laughing. It looked like you were really enjoying yourselves and you were just doing amazing work for people less fortunate,” he noted. “It was just a light-bulb moment that I thought, well, that’s what I need to do, I need to get into something and help people.”

He completely switched careers, moved from Brisbane to the little city of Bundaberg to help provide equipment and daily aids to people with disabilities. He sent us a note and a Down Under thank you box to NewsChannel 7 to share the news. He said fully dedicating himself to helping others touched him in ways he did not expect.

“I wasn’t prepared for the impact it was going to have, quite some teary moments,” he admitted.

He worked there for about a year until his mum, Merris Grayson, got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He said it was an easy decision to become her full-time caregiver, giving back to the person who gave him so much. She died in April of 2019. Now, he is caring for his stepdad and working at the Brisbane airport in security to bring in income, but he hopes to one day get back to make it back to Bundaberg and continue serving those in need.

“We as humans, we want to know that we’re going to be OK, I think, and it’s nice knowing in the back of your mind that there is help out there and I think that if you’re in a position where you can help, I think it’s just an easy decision to make,” he said.

To donate to the Share Your Holidays campaign, which provides funding to the Neighbors’ Place and The Salvation Army in Wausau, click here.

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