Former Student Gives His Emmy to Rome Teacher Who Inspired Him
Kevin Torres has come a long way since growing up dirt poor in a one bedroom apartment in Rome, New York. The 9 time Emmy winner is now a TV reporter in Colorado but hasn't forgotten the people who made him who he is today, including his 6th grade teacher at Dewitt-Clinton school, Mr Lanzi.
"You never knew you were poor growing up. Mr Lanzi made you feel like a million bucks. He would have the coolest classrooms that he decorated. He was a true inspiration," says Torres who returned home to give his latest Emmy to the man who had the biggest impact in his life. "Without Mr Lanzi in my life, I wouldn't have ended up where I am right now. There's a good chance you could have ended up in prison or dead on the street because that part of Rome was a really dangerous part back then."
"What's the sense in keeping 9 Emmy awards. They just collect dust. So I give them away to people who matter most and Mr Lanzi was one of those people. Without him none of it would be possible."
The former Rome teacher didn't just affect Torres' life. Mr Lanzi made a difference in a lot of student's lives. "He inspired us all and let us know if you work hard and apply yourself, you can achieve anything in life," says Torres. "You have all these kids from Rome who grew up in similar situations and were in Mr Lanzi's class that went on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, actors."
Torres went from high school to WKTV. From there it was jobs at WWNY in Watertown and WSYR in Syracuse before moving to Denver Colorado to work at KWGN.
Torres may be thankful for the retired teacher and the difference he made but it's Mr Lanzi who feels blessed. "I am speechless and holding back tears. I have been so blessed in my life, becoming a teacher and now having the honor of my very own Emmy Award. God bless you, Kevin, your Mom did a great job with you. I am a better person for having you and ALL of my students in my life," Lanzi wrote on Facebook.
Why does Torres give away his golden statues? It was thanks to his family. "They said 'what's the sense in keeping 9 Emmy awards. They just collect dust.' So I give them away to people who matter most and Mr Lanzi was one of those people who made a difference," says Torres. "Without him none of it would be possible."
The Emmy's were awarded to Torres for his feature, 'Unique to Coloardo' at KWGN-TV in Denver. The best job a kid from Rome could ask for. "I get to travel around Colorado and tell human interest stories. There's not enough good news in the world and my mission is to tell those stories."
Torres has gone from telling good stories to making them by thanking the teacher who affected more lives than he may ever know. "Enjoy this golden statue Mr Lanzi. You sure made us all feel like gold."