Robin Roberts was born at Pass Christian, Mississippi in 1960. "No matter what sport it was, I loved it, loved it, loved it. Loved every aspect of it, seeing how fast I could run, competing against someone else," is often repeated by her.
She made her mark while attending Southeastern Louisiana University on a basketball scholarship made possible by 1972's landmark Title IX. Robin Roberts graduated cum laude with a degree in communications and earned a place in Southern Louisiana University's Athletic Hall of Fame. After award-winning sports reporting and anchoring stints in both Atlanta and Nashville, she joined ESPN in February 1990. As anchor of ESPN's "Sports Center" and host of "ABC Sports," she became recognized as one of the finest broadcasters in the profession.
Roberts has proved that the world of sports broadcasting doesn't have to be a male domain. Her incredible knowledge, experience and talent helped her rise to the top of her profession. In her current job as news anchor on ABC's "Good Morning America," Roberts continues to demonstrate the same grace and ease that have defined her life and career.
Amid a storm of change
a single constant remains
"There'll be a change in the weather, a change in the sea
And from now on there'll be a change in me.
My walk will be different, a strut to a cane, Nothing about me is going to be the same!"
I feel that I have become the words of that paraphrased song. The death of my husband, the recent death of three dear friends, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina have truly changed me. However, one constant remains: God.
God's angels and His presence seem more real than ever. I am sure there will be many stories told of strangers who suddenly appeared at the time of need and distress or of neighbors and family members who took action and eased your "heavy load."
Mike Rogers, Sean Rogers, members of the Sea Wolves hockey team, a Methodist volunteer group and an Amish father and son from Lancaster County, Pa., and so many others saw my "heavy load" in Pass Christian and with muscle and grit lifted me. Truly God is in the midst of us.
"If I have strength, I owe the service of the strong
If melody I have, I owe the world a song.
If my torch can light the dark of any night
Then I must pay the debt
I owe the living light."
LUCIMARIAN TOLLIVER ROBERTS (Robin's Mother)
On April 25, 2002, Roberts began as the full-time news anchor for ABC's "Good Morning America." She began reporting for the show in 1995, and was the first substitute for co-host Diane Sawyer in February 1999.
The Pass Christian, Miss., native's steady network rise reflects her philosophy: "It's all about dreaming big and focusing small," she said earlier this week.
Hurricane Katrina hit close to home for "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts.
On August 31, 2005, Robin Roberts became part of the story as she reported on Hurricane Katrina (landfall of August 29, 2005).
Roberts grew up on the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Miss., a town of 6,000 about 13 miles west of Gulfport. She returned home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and shared in the shock of so many confronted by the devastation, as well as the united determination to overcome.
"It is so hard to comprehend the level of devastation," Roberts said. "Mile after heartbreaking mile — movie theaters, strip malls, corner stores blown to pieces, and entire neighborhoods just gone."
Ninety percent of the waterfront structures in Biloxi and Gulfport have been destroyed; with dozens dead, rescue workers have used axes to chop open doors in search of bodies, while ambulance convoys race to save the injured; and power is out in nearly 800,000 Mississippi homes.
Survivors pick through the rubble of their homes, salvaging remnants of their lives.
"Finding that little crystal basketball that belonged to my grandson just meant so much," Louise Ross told Roberts. "Finding my pet rock meant so much because you cannot ever replace that kind of stuff."
But while reporting amid the rubble, Roberts also uncovered hope.
"I'm very thankful to be alive and I look at the task ahead of me," said Mary Jane Allen, whose home was destroyed.
Everywhere Roberts visited, she encountered friends and neighbors who were strong, determined and willing to help each other in any way possible.
People were desperate to phone loved ones to let them know they were alive.
"In my mom's neighborhood, Jay across the street has a gas stove so people go across the street to cook some stuff up there. Next door, Cynthia and Tommy have water that they're letting people use, and another neighbor came over this morning and said he had a makeshift shower in the yard which is free and open to use," Roberts said. "The sense of community that I've always felt here on the West Coast is alive and well."
Although Roberts has not been able to check on the status of the home she grew up in, her family members were unscathed by the storm and encouraged Roberts to pursue her reporting to let the rest of the world know what was going on.
"I spent a lot of time with my family yesterday in Biloxi and they told me to get out and get to work," Roberts said.
As she did, she encountered several other people eager to let loved ones know they were alive.
"I just want to let my mother-in-law know we're fine," one woman said. "We lost our home, but we're fine."
Roberts was just a girl in 1969 when she survived Hurricane Camille -- a Category 5 hurricane with winds estimated to reach near 200 mph — but she recognized the resolve in the aftermath of Katrina as the same she felt more than 35 years ago.
"To Gulf Coast residents, many of whom remember Hurricane Camille's destruction more than 35 years ago, Katrina's wake leaves them strong, with hearts healing," Roberts said
When Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, it hit very close to home for "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts.
"It is so hard to comprehend the level of devastation," said Roberts, who reported from the town for "GMA." "Mile after heartbreaking mile — movie theaters, strip malls, corner stores blown to pieces, and entire neighborhoods just gone."
Robin Roberts Pitches In To Help Hometown
She's one of Good Morning America's most visible faces, but in Pass Christian Robin Roberts is the hometown girl. After seeing how Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped out her beloved city, Robin says she knew she would help. "I've had mom and dad when he was here and Dorothy and the sisters, they've been on Good Morning America so our audience felt that they knew, that they know my family so when they see me upset and crying it put a face to it so it was a natural to wanna be here and do as much as I can to help out."
Good Morning America is partnering with the Salvation Army and Americorps to rebuild the city. Over the next year GMA will document the progress. Sandy Scott of Americorps says, "It's gonna require the largest volunteer mobilization in the nation's history and we at Americorps from all over the country, we're gonna be here for the next year and we're really pleased to be working with GMA. They made a big commitment to help this town get back on its feet and I think that's terrific."
The national media naturally covers a huge disaster like Katrina. But for Good Morning America the story becomes more personal when it's one of their own. GMA producer Morgan Zalkin says, "Just this morning I was on the phone with her and we were planning out the rest of our day and I heard her say oh God, oh God and I just knew she was seeing something destroyed that she hadn't noticed yet and I said Robin I'm so sorry and she said I'll call you back and you know it happens to her. We go at a furious pace and she'll hit a wall and we remember these are real people like our friend Robin."
There are so many people Robin is reaching out to. "The first time I was here the people kept saying to me don't forget us, don't forget us, don't let anybody forget us and that's our intent not to let the Pass or the Gulf Coast be forgotten," she says.
"Good Morning America" has "adopted" the Pass Christian, Miss., hometown of anchor Robin Roberts, a Katrina-devastated community west of Gulfport, and is sending supplies and help to clear mountains of debris.
Two of Roberts' sisters lost their homes to Katrina, and her mother's home was damaged, Sherwood said. Roberts was on hand Tuesday to help as 55 truckloads of debris were hauled from town.
ABC is working with the Salvation Army and Corporation for National and Community Service on its project. There's already been more than $300,000 worth of contributions made, and the effort will continue for months.
The show's goal is to help individuals and open Pass Christian's school within two weeks.
Help 'GMA' Revive Robin Roberts' Hometown
Join the Effort to Help Rebuild
Pass Christian, Miss.
Sep. 28, 2005 - When Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, it hit very close to home for "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts.
Roberts grew up on the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Miss., a town of 6,000 that lies about 13 miles west of Gulfport.
"It is so hard to comprehend the level of devastation," said Roberts, who reported from the town for "GMA." "Mile after heartbreaking mile -- movie theaters, strip malls, corner stores blown to pieces, and entire neighborhoods just gone."
As cities and towns along the Gulf Coast begin the rebuilding process, "Good Morning America" will document the recovery effort in Pass Christian, 80 percent of which was destroyed in the storm. "GMA" will also partner with the Salvation Army and the Corporation for National and Community Service to "adopt" Pass Christian.
Both the Salvation Army and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs AmeriCorps among other programs, will send teams of trained volunteers to Pass Christian to help people rebuild their homes and lives, as well as identify the long-term needs of the community.
If you'd like to join "GMA" and its partners in helping to rebuild Robin's hometown, you can visit the following Web sites to get more information and make a contribution.
Additionally, "Good Morning America's" guests, including Sheryl Crow, Geena Davis and other stars, are donating personal items to a celebrity auction to benefit Pass Christian.
"GMA" fans will be able to bid on mementos from a star and help the town at the same time.
Check back for the latest details, and watch "GMA" for an announcement of the date of the auction.
Donations will help provide some of the supplies residents of Pass Christian say are most needed: extension ladders, rope, shovels, axes, hammers, nails, saws, gas cans, drills, tarps, cleaning supplies, extension cords, sunscreen and insect spray. Donations will also provide supplies for schools so the children of Pass Christian can get back to the books.
The healing has already begun in Pass Christian. Local officials believe around 1,500 people have returned to the town, and they are ready to get back to normal life.
"This town will never be the same," said Pass Christian Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Jones. "But it will be better."
Robin Roberts Drives Pass Christian Bus On GMA
South Mississippi is about to get some more National exposure this week. ABC's "Good Morning America" was in Pass Christian Monday morning, video taping a segment for the show.
The segment will highlight Coast native and "Good Morning America" News Anchor Robin Roberts' first job.
She hasn't been behind the wheel of a school bus in years, but Monday morning she seemed as comfortable as she is behind the news desk at "Good Morning America".
"We're here to talk about my first job. Charlie, Diane, the four of us on our show, we're going back to our respective communities and talking about what we did first, and mine was driving a big old school bus when I was a senior in high school at Pass High," Roberts said.
"You all feel comfortable with me at the wheel," Roberts asked students boarding her bus for the TV segment.
Robin got her bus driving job at the age of 18. She sort of stumbled into the position when the school needed someone to bus its tennis team to matches.
"The goal is to let people know our anchors a little more, where they come from, show that anybody can start anywhere and end up as an anchor," ABC Segment Producer Lili Rosenberg said.
"It taught me responsibility at a very young age. It showed that people believed in me, because that was a big deal for someone that was still in high school," Roberts said.
She says there is no place like home and she's excited to be able to bring a national video crew to town.
"I love the fact that when we do these types of programs on "Good Morning America". I get to showcase my home state. Diane is going to Massachusetts, Charlie is going to New Jersey, Tony is going to Washington D.C. I'm putting Pass Christian on the National map. I get a big kick out of that."
Students who rode Robin's bus for the segment also got a kick out of it.
"I thought it was really cool. She's really nice, she's really sweet, she's real intelligent and I think it's really good she's doing 'Good Morning America', 8th Grade Student Eula Mack said.
Posted on Tue, Sep. 27, 2005
GMA's Roberts lends a hand in the Pass
By TRACY DASH -- SUN HERALD
PASS CHRISTIAN - "Good Morning America" viewers usually find Robin Roberts sitting behind the anchor desk on the popular ABC show.
This week, though, Roberts is broadcasting from her hometown of Pass Christian, lending a hand in the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina destroyed virtually everything in her path.
Roberts, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, helped clear debris from Seal Street Tuesday morning and unloaded thousands of items from two 18-wheelers. The trucks were packed with $250,000 worth of supplies, including box fans, shovels, brooms and other items that will be used to rebuild the city's infrastructure.