Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Discover How to Be Your Best
Darcy Pohland

Darcy Pohland: June, 1961 - March, 2010

Darcy Pohland: June, 1961 - March, 2010
Reporter for over 20 years at WCCO-Minneapolis

A Note From Best Ever YOU Founder Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Darcy Pohland was one of my heroes. She was in my thoughts as I started Best Ever YOU in 2008, as I've always thought "If Darcy can do it, I can too." Having been born in Minnesota, lived there for a great deal of my life and having a broadcasting background, I followed her stories regularly. It was not until Darcy followed my brother's story, Justin Hamilton, that I met her personally. Sad circumstances to meet, but I can tell you from personal experience that Darcy was a true champion and should be remembered as an inspiration to us all. After meeting Darcy, I asked her to write her story for our site. She loved Best Ever YOU and followed us regularly. Thank you Darcy. May you forever live on in our hearts.

Here is her story ...

My story begins at General Hospital ….not the real one the one in Port Charles, the soap opera seen Monday through Friday on ABC. I was a 22 year old college student watching the drama of Luke and Holly unfold after Laura disappeared and Luke was paralyzed from the waist down in some accident. I turned to my roommate and said, “I’d rather be dead than live like that!” 4 months later I was even worse off than Luke.

It was summer break and I was in Washington D.C. doing an internship learning how to shoot and edit TV news stories at the WCCO TV Washington bureau. I was on a path to become a reporter but knew I needed to learn how to shoot and edit my own stories. I was just about to get a chance to do that on my own for a week, but I never made it.

The weekend before that, I had a party at my Georgetown townhome. After a few drinks, we decided to go swimming. It was dark I dove into the shallow end of the pool which was just 4 feet deep. I never lost consciousness and I remember not being able to find the top of the water. I thought “If someone doesn’t get me out of here I’m going to drown and I really don’t want to die”. A friend got me to the surface and I couldn’t feel my hands or legs. Instead of leaving me in the pool they carried me back to the townhouse and called 911. I said…”Just leave me here I’ll be fine.” I had no idea what the future had in store for me.

The next thing I remember I was in a dark hospital room. The doctor was standing over me and said, “Darcy you broke your neck at the C-7 level. That means you’re paralyzed from the chest down. Your hands and fingers won’t work normally you’ll need to use a wheelchair to get around and you only have a 20 percent chance of regaining any function.” I looked at him and said, “Well at least you didn’t say there was no chance.” I figured 20 percent was better than nothing. I was in traction pondering my life and thought…this happened for a reason I just don’t know why. I knew I could never be a TV reporter but I knew there had to be something a young woman in a wheelchair could do in the field.

After 5 months of rehabilitation, I moved into my own apartment went back to school, got my degree then called the photographer who I worked with in D.C. who had since moved back to Minneapolis. I asked if there were any entry level positions at WCCO TV.

He said he thought there was a Dispatcher spot. After a series of interviews, I was hired. Four dollars an hour for listening to police scanners and dispatching photographers to spot news like fires, murders, and car crashes. It was a great training ground which I had to learn to fit into as a disabled person. Fortunately for me, I worked closely with an assignment editor named Jerilyn Miller who believed in me. She talked other skeptical managers into giving me a chance to work as an assistant on the assignment desk. She then promoted me to Planning Editor. If not for Jeri, I would not be where I am today. She saw my ability not my disability. A few years later, I was asked to produce a weekly segment called Community News. I was also doing my other job. Then the moment which changed my life came at a friend’s wedding. I was asked to do a reading and the WCCO news director and his wife our anchor were there. At the reception she asked, “Why don’t we put you on the air?” I said, yeah why don’t you?” I really didn’t think another thing of it until I was called into the news director’s office several weeks later. He and the assistant news director said “How would you like to be our Community News reporter one day a week?” Well of course I was thrilled but terrified as well. I hadn’t done any reporting since college. After some practice stories, they put me on the air. As a reporter, starting out as a rookie in a 13 news market like WCCO was incredibly rare. I was so fortunate this industry that’s so image conscious took a chance on me. They never would have kept me on the air though if I didn’t deliver. I wasn’t a charity case.

In May, I will have worked at ‘CCO for 22 years! I’ve been a full time General Assignment reporter for more than 15 years. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do before I broke my neck. Every day I realize how lucky I am to be doing something I love. It never would have happened without the help and support of my managers, coworkers, friends and family who are all able to see past the disability and treat me like anyone else.

Last summer, our anchor Jeanette Trompeter got me out on a large speed boat on the lake, talked me into and got me onto a 3 person inner tube, we even caught some air getting towed behind the boat and then I went in the water for the first time since I broke my neck. It’s for days like those and friends like Jeanette that makes me glad I didn’t die in that D.C. pool.

~Darcy Pohland

Type Your Heading Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam non augue. Etiam adipiscing. Nulla facilisi. Integer neque. Integer congue vestibulum ante. Nunc turpis ante, sagittis nec, porta vitae, dictum non, orci. Duis sed ante non metus aliquet vestibulum. Nam diam dui, pretium id, tempus eu, congue in. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam non augue. Etiam adipiscing. Nulla facilisi. Integer neque. Integer congue vestibulum ante. Nunc turpis ante, sagittis nec, porta vitae, dictum non, orci. Duis sed ante non metus aliquet vestibulum. Nam diam dui, pretium id, tempus eu, congue in.