The emotions were clear on Jerry Fishers face as we sat in his studio at the WBLF radio station in State College.
He was describing to his audience on the airwaves how the Jerry Sandusky trial was affecting him in a very personal way.
Fishers family has deep ties to Penn State, where Sandusky
coached football and Fisher does play-by-play for womens basketball broadcasts.
Also, Fisher worked with The Second Mile for many years, serving on the agencys board and helping organize the nonprofits biggest fundraiser, the annual celebrity golf outing.
Fishers eyes reflected anger, sorrow, frustration even betrayal as we discussed the incredible news of the day with his listeners.
Ive seen those same emotions on many local faces in recent weeks.
Indeed, although every detail of the Sandusky child sex abuse trial was exposed to the world and analyzed across the national networks, this is truly a local story.
Each day as I moved among the media trucks from CNN, NBC, CBS and other major outlets, as I stood among journalists from Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere, I was constantly reminded that Sanduskys victims, witnesses even members of his jury were from here in this region.
That point was brought home in stark reality on a night during the trial when I encountered a woman with whom I had attended high school. She was a year behind me, and we had been in the band together.
On this night, she was wondering if she would be called to testify in the Sandusky proceedings. She knew one of the alleged victims, she explained. The young man and her son had been close friends.
She recalled the time Sandusky gave the boy a drum set as a gift. The coach failed to provide drumsticks, so the boy borrowed my sons, she recalled.
Before the trial, our police reporter, Mike Dawson, had tracked down the names of some of the alleged victims who would testify against Sandusky in his trial.
He read one name to me. My response: Hes from the Mountaintop. I was right.
Another name yielded this reaction from me: Id bet hes from Milesburg. Two for two.
Yet another victims name was very familiar. Turns out I knew his dad years ago.
During the trial, you didnt see the names of those abuse victims in our pages or on our website. We stayed true to our professions ethical standards and respected the wishes of the judge in the case, referring to the men only by their alleged victim numbers as listed in the grand jury presentment.
Not all media handled their duties in the right way. One day early in the trial, as I ate lunch in a Bellefonte restaurant, I heard a national radio reporter use a victims name over and over while describing the details of that mornings testimony.
It was callous and unnecessary.
I was reminded that the reporter had no connection to our region, that he would be headed off to the next ugly story once the Sandusky proceedings had reached their conclusion.
For me, Ill long be haunted by the local nature of Sanduskys crimes.
The victims came from communities such as Lock Haven, Moshannon and State College.
Much of the abuse occurred in local places such as the Lasch Football Building at Penn State and in Sanduskys home in College Township.
And the lingering impact goes beyond a solitary cell at the county jail.
It rips at the hearts of good people who work at Penn State, who have supported the mission of The Second Mile, who live every day right here in Centre County.
It is often said that all news is local. That is especially true of the Jerry Sandusky story in our region.
As Jerry Fisher told his listeners that morning, when an unspeakable act tears down something youve believed in, the sting reaches deep and leaves scars that wont quickly fade.
Chip Minemyer is the executive editor of the Centre Daily Times. He can be reached at 2313-4640 and firstname.lastname@example.org.