ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- If you've been a loyal viewer of 23 News on WIFR for many years, you may recognize this Comeback Kid. She was in front of the camera for many years in the Stateline before taking a job away from the camera, but still in the public eye.
Laura Gibbs Green, born and raised in Rockford, graduated from Auburn High School before completing her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University.
After living at home for a couple of years, she got her first job in broadcast television. From 2001 to 2003, she worked at WHBF-TV, the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities. But she always knew that she wanted to come back to Rockford, while if at all possible, continuing her passion for telling stories in front of the camera.
This is when she received a call from our own Andy Gannon, offering her a job as Weekend Anchor and Reporter at WIFR-TV. She arrived in early 2003 and was eager to be back home. This was around the same time that other on-air talent began their careers. Current on-air talent include Mark Henderson, he started in July of 2003 and Mike Garrigan in the following October. Laura says working the weekends was a lot, especially as everyone was beginning their careers.
She says, "We were young. We had a lot of energy, we had a lot of fun. I think on the weekends, so much goes on and not many people are at the station. So it was a busy time."
Her memories at WIFR-TV remain vivid, like the day our 731 foot TV tower at the station fell when severe weather moved through on July 5, 2003. She says, "I remember the July 4th storms that came through. They literally took the tower and turned it into a twisted roller coaster that I called it in our backyard."
She continued her path in Rockford television and radio after leaving WIFR-TV in 2008. She worked for 3 years at Rockford's NBC affiliate, WREX-TV before a very brief stint on radio at WGFB-FM, b103 in Rockford. It was after that, when she took a brief detour as a new opportunity came knocking on her door.
Laura says, "I accepted a position at the Rockford Park District, doing P.R. and kind of merging everything. I have a recreation and communication background." Her official title with the Rockford Park District is "Public Relations and Internal Communications Manager," a position she has held since 2011. She works closely with all of Rockford's media outlets to set up stories and interviews, coordinating information booths, speaking engagements, news releases, publication distribution, advertising copywriting and social media initiatives.
In this position, she was and continues to be part of many award-winning projects through the Rockford Park District administration. One of her first projects came in 2012 and says of the project, "This means that for the citizens that we serve in the community in the size that we are, it means that the Rockford Park District is the best."
Originally she never imagined having a world outside of news, but says her path in Rockford is a unique one. She still utilizes many things she learned working in television in her job today at the park district.
She says, "What you do and who you meet, it leads you to the next step. Some of those people, you met 4 years ago, came back very quickly in the 2 years I changed jobs. Down the road, a lot of people have helped mentor me. I still look up to them and am still connected to them. And now, it's cool to be in the position I'm in and helping the next generation."
And being also to live in the city in which she grew up, that's just icing on the cake. She says, "I've always loved Rockford. My family is here, my husband and son are here. You know everything about Rockford is me and now, it's just a perfect fit. Now to be at the level that I'm at, and look back to what I learned at WIFR, I use everything at my job at the Rockford Park District."