Speaker series to feature Quinones

PRESENTATION PLANNED — Jimmie Bruce, left, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, and Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, discuss the April 19 appearance by John Quinones as part of the Herald-Star Speaker Series. -- Jody Wisbith

STEUBENVILLE — They are the situations that make us all pause for a moment.

You might see a child being shamed by her mother at a pastry shop, being told she weighs too much to enjoy a doughnut. Or you could be faced with seeing a person being ridiculed because of his religion or her race.

Until you actually face such a moment, you question how you would react, you wonder what would you do?

John Quinones, the man who has presenting scenarios like this on the ABC show “What Would You Do?”, will bring his presentation about ethics and allowing true character to show to Steubenville at 7:30 p.m. April 19 when the Herald-Star Speaker Series, Presented by Trinity Health System and Eastern Gateway Community College, continues in Lanman Hall at Catholic Central High School.

Among those who are excited about the appearance of Quinones is Jimmie Bruce, president of the community college. Bruce had the opportunity to hear Quinones speak several years ago, and says residents of the Tri-State Area will find the message to be powerful.

“His presentation is based on his book, ‘What Would You Do?’ and the TV show he has of the same name,” Bruce explained. “It just speaks to where we are in society about doing the right thing. He has a message about what it means to be ethical, what it means to reach out and help other people, even when the decision to do so might not be easy. I just think it’s a great message about where we are as a society.”

Quinones has worked at ABC News for more than 35 years. He has won seven Emmy Awards for his work with “Primetime Live,” “20/20” and “Burning Questions — The Poisoning of America.” Quinones, who grew up in San Antonio, joined ABC News is June 1982 as a correspondent based in Miami, providing reports for “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” and other ABC broadcasts. He was one of the few American journalists who reported from Panama City during the U.S. invasion in December 1999.

He brings a lifetime of never taking no for an answer, his biography reads, and that philosophy has taken him from migrant farm work and poverty to a successful career.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to bring John Quinones to our community as part of our series,” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. “His message of urging people to stand up and help others, even when it’s not a popular or easy thing to do is important — one everyone in our region should hear.”

His will be the ninth presentation in a series that days back to Nov. 14, 2012. Past speakers have included Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, Antonio and Jonna Mendez, Richard Phillips, Rebekah Gregory, retired Air Force Lt. Mark Tillman, Mark Geist, Jeanine Pirro and retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden. Each of the presentations has followed the goal of bringing interesting to speakers to town at a very affordable cost.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring high-caliber speakers into our community,” Bruce said. “I personally think it’s a good thing for students, whether they are in high school or college, to hear the experiences of the speakers, people who have been able to do great things. I think it’s a good opportunity to learn.”

While Quinones has covered many stories during his career — including getting the first interview with one of survivors from the 2010 Chilean mine disaster, following along with a group Mexican immigrants as they tried to cross into the United States on “The Devils Highway” or exposing slave labor used to harvest sugar cane in Haiti — many people recognize him as the anchor of “What Would You Do?”, the hidden-camera, ethical dilemma newsmagazine.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and his master’s degree from Columbia University. He worked as news editor at KTRH Radio in Houston and as a reporter-anchor at KPRC-TV. Quinones also worked as a reporter at WBBM-TV in Chicago before joining ABC News.

“I think people who attend the presentation can expect to hear somebody who is down to earth,” Bruce said. “He’s a very well-spoken person, and I think when you hear him in person he’s just like he appears to be on TV. He’s just a very approachable person who has what I think is a high set of values, and I think that will come across in the presentation.”

Reserved seat tickets for the April 19 presentation cost $20 each in advance and will be available beginning Monday at the Herald-Star, 401 Herald Square. Tickets purchased at the auditorium the night of the presentation will cost $25, if they are available. Copies of the book “What Would You Do?” can be purchased for $10 beginning Monday at the Herald-Star office. Reserved seat tickets also can be purchased by visiting heraldstaroline.com. Persons with a copy of the book will have the opportunity to receive an autograph from Quinones after the presentation.

Special VIP and preferred ticket packages also are available. (See information box for details.)

For information or to purchase tickets at any level, contact Diana Brown at the Herald-Star at (740) 283-4711.

Area high school and college students will have the opportunity to attend the presentation at no charge — contact Brown for details.

Sponsors include the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, Trinity Health System, Eastern Gateway Community College, Catrell Cos. Inc., Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV. Special support is being provided by the University Inn at Franciscan Square, Piergallini Catering, Catholic Central High School, Newbrough Photo and Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental.

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