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2010 Speaker

Susan Luz - Author

Susan Luz, RN, is the highest ranking soldier in the 399th Combat Support Hospital, an Army Reserve unit based out of Massachusetts. In 2007, she won the Bronze Star for meritorious service while in Iraq.  In her book, The Nightingale of Mosul, Susan courageously confronts the fight to care for more than 30,000 soldiers under unfathomably difficult circumstances, and the tenacity to stand for ideals that truly matter.

Trained as a nurse, she has lived a life devoted to public service working in inner-city schools, jails and adolescent psychiatric wards.  A former Peace Corps volunteer to Brazil, Sue holds a nursing degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

No stranger to military circles, Susan’s father is a World War II veteran who served under General Patton.  Susan’s father-in-law is the late George Luz Sr., who was portrayed by actor Rick Gomez in the Band of Brothers HBO miniseries based on Stephen Ambrose’s bestselling book by the same name.


Previous Speakers

2007 – 11Alive’s Brenda Wood

Brenda Wood anchors 11Alive News at 6, 7 and 11 p.m. weekdays.  She joined WXIA-TV in 1997 after serving as primary anchor at WAGA-TV for more than eight years.  Since she began her career in 1977, Brenda has received numerous honors, including 15 Emmy awards, five awards from Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, and two from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loma Linda University in Southern California with a degree in Speech Communication and Mass Media.  Brenda’s faith plays a large role in her life, and she and her husband, Keith, are very active in their church.  They have two daughters, Kristen and Kandis.

2008 – The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore

Meteorologist Jim Cantore is best known for his tenure as an on-air personality for The Weather Channel.  A member of The Weather Channel team since 1986, he analyzes complicated weather conditions in terms the average viewer can understand and is often selected to report live from weather events.  Jim also is the creator of the television show “It Could Happen Tomorrow” and narrates The Weather Channel’s “Storm Stories.”  A native of White River Junction, Vermont, Jim is a graduate of Lyndon State College.  He has a daughter Christina, and a son, Ben.  Both suffer from Fragile X Syndrome, and Jim supports research funding for the impairment through his charitable work.

2009 – Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson Jr.

Ernie Johnson is in the 19th year as the studio host for Turner NBA telecasts, where he hosts “Inside the NBA” with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.  He is also the host of “Game Time Live,” a studio show focusing on Live NBA games from across the league.  Since graduating from the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Ernie’s sports broadcast career has taken him to Wimbledon, the PGA Championship, British Open and President’s Cup, where he was a play-by-play announcer.  Prior to joining Turner Sports, Ernie worked for Atlanta’s very own WSB-TV and has received numerous awards, including six Emmys.  In 2007, he was presented with the first ever honorary “John Wooden Keys to Life Award” presented by Athletes in Action.