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Paul Draisey, 1956-2012

April 18, 2012 13 comments


These words are hopelessly inadequate so please forgive me. But something really needs to be said about Paul Draisey. Professionally, he’ll be remembered as a radio-guy, the voice of Loudoun County, Virginia for some four decades. Hell, he was the unofficial Mayor of Loudoun County.

He hired me into my very first radio job at WAGE-AM, in Leesburg, Virginia in 1977. He successfully trained me for my 3rd class FCC license you used to have to get in those days to go on the air and be able to turn the transmitters on and off. He was one of those handful of people in my life who decided to take a chance on a green, hungry kid who was looking for a future and fell in love, like Paul did, with the medium of radio. It would become a career. It will be 35 years this September. I have him to thank for every penny made and for every accomplishment I have ever achieved in the radio business.

Paul knew everyone and everyone knew Paul. He was tight with the Sheriff’s deputies, the fire and rescue folks, the politicians, teachers, coaches, businessmen and women, just about every charity that ever turned up in Loudoun County. I’ve never really known anyone before or since who so respected, honored and epitomized “community.”

Paul and I kept in touch sporadically through the years, more so when Facebook came along. He read this blog from time to time.

I know he was proud of me as the 19-year-old kid he hired would go on to work at networks like CBS and CNN and ABC and now NPR. In fact, I know, because he told me, that when I took over CNNRadio back in the 1990’s, he had WAGE switch radio networks to CNN. That, my friends, is loyalty.

Let me quote a colleague of Paul’s interviewed for the local Loudoun County newspaper because, really, my own words are beginning to fail me here. These are the observations of Dave Scarangella, another alum of WAGE Radio.

He was a man who cared about Loudoun County and freely devoted his time to a lot of causes, from the USO to the Middleburg Fire Department. He emceed well over a hundred charity events in his lifetime, freely mentored any person who needed help, and seemed to remember ever athlete, coach, politician and businessman he ever met. He was a special person and a great friend.

They say that the measure of a man’s success in life is how many friends he makes along the way. In that regard, Paul was the most successful man I ever knew. He will be missed.

The day Paul died I happened to read something about death that left me deeply moved. The belief by some Native American tribes that a person dies twice in life. The first, is the physical death; the passing of the body. The second death is when all those you ever knew and remembered you also pass; the death of the memory of the individual.

One of those we can do nothing about. But that second death- it is absolutely in our power to pass the word, from generation to generation, to as many people as possible, about the life and good works of those, like Paul, who gave so much of themselves to make their families and their communities whole.

So these words, Paul- are for you, my friend. They are also for your family- your wife, Donna and your kids Brad and Kyle Draisey and Kristen Stennett, to your half-brother, Bill Torrey, and to everyone who never even knew you but whose lives would have been richer if they had.

We love you and we will remember you and we will pass your memory on forever.