Donald James Dare
Donald James Dare graduated from North Carolina Wesleyan University in June 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater/Speech. He volunteered for the US Amy in July 1968. Having taken the Army’s Officer Candidate School exam before graduation earlier that spring, Don was accepted into OCS. His life-long career as a broadcast journalist began in the Army.
In November of 1968, Don began Army basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. In late January of 1969, he was off to Combat Engineering Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Then on Easter Sunday, April 1969, Don began Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Upon his commission, 2LT Dare began Signal Officer Basic School in October 1969, at Fort Gordon, Georgia. While at Fort Gordon, Don volunteered for an extra year in the Army in order to be assigned to the Television Division at Fort Gordon’s Southeastern Signal School. There he served as a writer, producer, and talent for Fort Gordon’s weekly safety program — required viewing for the 20,000 troops assigned to the facility. He also participated in instructional programs for the Field Signal Corps.
In September 1971, 1LT Dare was assigned to American Forces Vietnam Network, AVFN, in Saigon (“Good Morning, Vietnam”). There were four TV/Radio stations in South Vietnam. The Saigon station served as headquarters. TV programming ran 18 hours a day and TV newscasts aired at 6 and 11. Also, AM and FM radio was on the air 24 hours a day.
At AFVN, Don first served as the TV studio production officer. He designed and helped build the TV weather set and served as producer of USO Shows taped at the station. In December 1971, he was assigned as producer of AFVN’s videotaping of the Bob Hope Show on Christmas Day. The program aired throughout Vietnam as well as US Navy Aircraft Carriers stationed in SE Asia.
In January 1972, Don was assigned as Executive Producer of TV news programs and News Editor for AFVN’s hourly radio newscasts. He continued in those positions until his military obligation ended in May 1972. While in the service Don received a Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals
Using the GI BILL®, Don began working on a Master’s Degree in Journalism at the University of Georgia in June 1972. Don and his wife, Lynn, a 1970 North Carolina Wesleyan University graduate, lived in Athens, Georgia. Upon completion of his MA, Don and Lynn moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where Don worked as a TV reporter at WLAC-TV.
In Don’s 50+ years as a TV news reporter/anchor he has worked in Nashville, Miami, St. Louis, Los Angeles (with the national syndicated TV program Newscope), back to Miami, and finally to Knoxville, Tennessee. He has worked with WATE-TV, Knoxville where he, Lynn and their son, Brent, have lived since 1996.
Don has received local, regional, and national awards as a broadcast Journalist. He’s a three-time Emmy award winner, AP Tennessee Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year. He’s also received a national Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, National Society of Professional Journalism Award, National Press Club Award, National RTNDA/NEFE Finance Reporting Award, Environmental Journalism Award, Casey Medal, Gabriel Award, Cecil Award, Green Eyeshade Award, Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Award, and Wilbur Award for religious reporting.
Don and Lynn are members of the United Methodist Church. He is a certified Lay Speaker and Lay Servant with the Holston Conference. He is active in the Boy Scouts of America, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Officer Candidate School Alumni Association. In 2017, he was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame. In 1982, Don received the Alumnus of the Year Award from North Carolina Wesleyan University.