Cheryl Chodun's letter to 7 Action News viewers as she prepares for retirement

(WXYZ) - "How do you leave something you love?" That was the first line of a letter I gave our News Director Tim Dye in April and I continued on… "I don't know the answer."  Well, I still don't know the answer, but I DO know that it is time to leave after 25 years as a reporter here at  Channel 7, five on the radio, four before that as a writer here at 7 and a few before that freelancing for newspapers when our children were babies.

That is a lot of news and so many years (hard to believe) and it's time for a new phase of my life. 
I hope to teach a few classes of journalism to up-and-coming reporters and writers. I want to hang out with my husband and kids and grandkids (I do that now, but more would be better.) I want to volunteer in the community and more of that would be better.

There is no question I will miss this! Looking out at all of our viewers every night and often in the afternoon, telling them what is going on - the very same way I would want to hear it. Covering breaking news and getting answers - I can't imagine not doing that.  

I will miss walking into the newsroom and seeing everyone.  This is like a second home to me, but all good things - as we all know - must come to an end.  So at the end of July, I will sign off for the last time.
I do want to thank everyone who has watched all these years.

So many of you have sent me notes or emails over the years – or have come up to me when you see me. I smile when you tell me, "I look cold" or you worry about me out there. I smile because I appreciate your words of concern and your comments. 

I so thank those of you who have allowed me into your homes literally during the most difficult time of your lives and have shared with me the overwhelming sadness and heartbreak when you have lost someone you love. 
Believe me when I say I remember all of you and in fact stay in touch with some of you and will continue to do that. Even if your story isn't over - and I am not here at the station - when it is, one of my amazing co-workers will be.

I have shared happy times with many of you as well, when a missing loved one is found, when a problem has been solved ( we take action) when bringing your story to the screen makes a difference… that is gratifying.
And back to those amazing co-workers… I want to thank all of them for their friendship and their help, their input, and putting their arms around me when I needed them. 

Sometimes, we're calling each other at all hours, working stuff out about the stories we are covering, or anything else that needs taking care of. How I will miss that!  Even my competitors (yup we actually like and respect each other) I thank you for making me better, for keeping me on my toes, for watching our backs when we arrive at a scene - of course we do the same for them.

The news business is a crazy one for sure but an important one. It is non-stop, intense and at times deadline-stressful. It is challenging and changing all the time. When I started we had typewriters, remember them? Now, you can watch us on your phones.

I feel so fortunate really to have been able to do this, to meet so many interesting people, to tell everyday stories - and incredible, even unbelievable stories.
So how do you leave something like that? Something you have loved for so long? (I have often joked that I would have done it for free.) But seriously, I guess I won't know how you leave - until I do at the end of July.

I am grateful I have the support of my family and friends and my News Director, Assistant News Director, General Manager and Station Manager to help me through this difficult and emotional time. As I move on to what I hope will be an exciting and fulfilling next chapter.

I am going to sign this letter with love, because even though I mean every single word - "Sincerely" just isn't enough!



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