15 News Team

Mike McKinney
(1965-2006)

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Funeral services were held Friday morning, July 14th, 2006 for Mike McKinney, NBC 15 anchor and reporter, who died at his Madison home Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer. The service was held at High Point Church, 7702 Old Sauk Road, in Madison.

A Scholarship fund has also been set up in Mike's name. Those wishing may contribute to the Michael Harrington McKinney Scholarship Fund, c/o SS Morris Community A.M.E. Church, 3511 Milwaukee Street, Madison, WI 53714-2347.

Mike was born in St. Louis, Missouri April 28, 1965. He received his Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Mike moved to Madison in December, 1995. It didn't take long for him to leave a lasting impact on the community.

On a cold December day in 1996, Mike stood in the parking lot of the Sentry store at Hilldale Mall in Madison. He had the idea to collect food for hungry families for the holiday season. Mike watched as snowplows cleared the streets on that snowy morning. Once those streets were cleared, cars carrying food and money began arriving. By the end of the day, more than 4.5 tons of food and $4,200 dollars had been donated. That was enough to supply 60,000 meals to Second Harvest Food Bank.

That was the very first Share Your Holidays food drive. Because of Mike's hard work, Share Your Holidays has grown each year. Now after 10 years, Share Your Holidays is responsible for supplying more than 10,000,000 meals to Second Harvest Food Bank. That food has helped feed thousands of families throughout south–central Wisconsin over the past decade.

In 1999, Mike took part in the first of several bicycle rides across the state to raise awareness and money to battle AIDS. In 2004, Mike journeyed to Africa with members of the University of Wisconsin Rainbow Project, to show us first hand the devastating effect of AIDS on that continent.

Shortly after his return from Africa, Mike announced he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Even though the treatments caused him to lose weight and strength, he used his diagnosis as a springboard to teach others about cancer.

Mike didn't let the cancer keep him down. In December, 2004, he made sure he was on hand at the Alliant Energy Center for the grand finale of the Share Your Holiday food drive. In August, 2005, Mike was too weak to ride in the ACT III AIDS ride. But that didn't stop him from lending a hand as a volunteer crew member, providing services and support for those riding for a cause.

As a journalist, Mike won several awards, including the YWCA, Racial Justice Award, as well as awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and the Associated Press. Mike was voted several times as Madison's Best TV personality by the readers of the Wisconsin State Journal, Isthmus, Madison Magazine and Wisconsin Woman Magazine. He was also named the Jaycees Young Wisconsinite.

STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF MIKE MCKINNEY

To Mike’s colleagues at NBC15 News, to his best buddies in the media; the many men and women in the industry whose lives he has touched, to his friends, too numerous to call by name – you know who you are. To the doctors, nurses and medical teams who helped to sustain life for Mike during his illness I will ever be eternally grateful. To those friends that he especially loved, his church family, his devoted friend Christopher and to this wonderful community of Madison -- from the depths of my heart I say thank you – your outpouring of love for Mike has been wrapped in such reverence and compassion and has been truly amazing.

He used his professional position as a journalist as a “bully pulpit” to raise the consciousness of us all through his many civic and community involvements, being a champion and advocate for the under served, his aggressive assault on hunger, his passionate support of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, and the many other social issues--Mike worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of all people.

How do you measure the season of a man? You can begin by looking at the life of Mike McKinney. You have seen him strong, vibrant and charismatic... even when his body seemed weak. Mike had the tenacity of a bull, always striving for perfection…to be the very best he could be in telling other peoples stories and even at telling his own story.

On behalf of myself, and his family—thank you for accepting, embracing, loving, and honoring my son, and for allowing him to become the stature of the man he became in this community that he so loved..

How do you honor his legacy? By continuing to be involved in the positive growth of this community, advocating for those without a voice and being kind to one another.

In Mike’s words…God Bless, and Take Care of Yourself.

Barbara McKinney

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