TV anchor says ‘integrity, compassion, sacrifice’ is what matters in life

NEW YORK (CNS) — The value of a person’s life “is seen in every act of integrity, compassion or sacrifice that enriches and encourages others,” Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Ernie Anastos said in receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Christophers.

The award recognizes individuals whose personal and professional contributions to making the world a better place “have left an indelible mark on our culture,” according to an announcement from the organization.

Previous winners include jazz legend Dave Brubeck, actor Carroll O’Connor, and author/historian David McCullough.

Anastos, currently at FOX News 5 in New York, has been a television news anchor for more than 35 years. He also has been lead anchor at two other New York stations — WABC-TV and WCBS-TV.

Ernie Anastos, winner of the Christopher Lifetime Achievement Award, poses with presenter Kathy Lee Gifford during the May 19 ceremony in New York. The award recognizes individuals whose personal and professional contributions to making the world a better place have left an indelible mark on our culture. (CNS photo/Paul Schneck, The Christophers)
Ernie Anastos, winner of the Christopher Lifetime Achievement Award, poses with presenter Kathy Lee Gifford during the May 19 ceremony in New York. The award recognizes individuals whose personal and professional contributions to making the world a better place have left an indelible mark on our culture. (CNS photo/Paul Schneck, The Christophers)

He received the award May 19 during the 67th annual Christopher Awards ceremony in New York. The same evening awards were presented to 21 winners in film, TV and book categories.

In his remarks, Anastos quoted a Greek philosopher who he said “once wrote a wonderful line: ‘I have a wish to die young but as late in life as possible.’ I am standing here before you I’m thankful to the good Lord for giving me this life.

“From the time I was 16 years old, I started my first job in radio, and I haven’t been off the air (since),” he said, adding that he remembers all kinds of things that have happened in his life “but most important, every day I think about the blessing I have that God gave me a gift.”

“God gave you a gift,” he told the other winners.

But over time, he continued, “money, fame and power … become irrelevant. Wins and losses that once seemed important don’t matter. Even grudges and resentments disappear. So what really matters?

“The value of your life is seen in every act of integrity, compassion or sacrifice that enriches and encourages others. It’s about character — not just what you have learned, but what you have taught. More than what you got, it’s what you gave.”

“Life is measured by significance, more than success,” said Anastos. The things closest to his heart are his family and fans, and his Greek Orthodox faith and Greek heritage.

The work of those receiving Christopher Awards has “purpose and value,” which is something the world needs, he said.

The world also needs “love and compassion more than ever,” he added.

Anastos said his association with the Christophers began in about 1980, when Father John Catoir, now retired, was the organization’s director.

The TV anchor also has ties with the Archdiocese of New York and Catholic Charities. He devotes time other charitable organizations, including St. Francis Food Pantries of New York. Proceeds from his children’s book, “Ernie and the Big Newz,” were donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Christophers organization was founded by Maryknoll Father James Keller in 1945, in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity, and has long held as its guiding principle the ancient Chinese proverb “It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.”

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