Dawne Gee, the WAVE 3 News anchor, is known everywhere for her bright, positive outlook on life and the emotion she shows when delivering stories on the nightly news. And as those who’ve met her in person know, she doesn’t turn off that high energy when she’s off camera.
Gee delivers the news with an emotion generally frowned upon in the industry. If it’s a sad piece, her face reflects that sadness, and anyone can see her eyes brighten when she’s talking about something good.
“I can’t pretend to be somebody that I’m not,” says Gee, now in her 24th year at WAVE 3 News. “It’s easier for me to be myself. I look at whatever that person (in the news) is doing, or saying, and say there is a reason for that. It didn’t just happen. We are all made up of what we’ve been through.”
That empathy is evident as Gee goes about her daily routine, which usually includes an appearance donating her time for a charity. She makes at least 200 such appearances per year, and despite battles with her own health, she maintains a positive outlook.
“You never know what anybody is going through,” she says. “I fight on a daily basis with my health, and I don’t think I’ll live a very long life. I try to be nice. If somebody nips at you or is mean to you, cut them a break. It has nothing to do with you.”
In November 2016, Gee – who had already survived a battle with cancer – suffered a stroke while on the air. She went to the hospital, got the diagnosis, did the therapy, and was back in her anchor seat in less than 60 days. In fact, she chronicled her story for legions of viewers.
What motivates Gee is the desire to make life better for others, especially those in the West End. Gee grew up in and still lives in Shively, but she talks of the West End as home, the place where she got her broadcasting start at WLOU 1350 AM.
And she likes nothing better than to talk about her roots. She speaks with great pride about being on the board of the West End School, located in the same building she attended when it was Virginia Avenue Elementary School.
Gee also operates her own non-profit, called A Recipe to End Hunger, after she met a boy who said he ate paper when his stomach hurt. That led to a book published in 2014, with all money raised going to feed hungry children. The book, available on Amazon, includes recipes from Louisville celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Bobby Petrino, Darrell Griffith, and Muhammad Ali.
It’s no surprise that when WAVE managers suggested Gee have a special on-air segment, the result was her idea — Pass the Cash. Gee asks people to nominate someone they know to receive a surprise gift of cash, and presents it on the air. It’s one of the most popular segments in Louisville.
Ultimately, Gee says she asks herself one question for herself and others: “What can you do, where you are, with what you have?”