While there, Tom covered events such as the Martin Luther King assassination riots, Bobby Kennedy's funeral, the Supreme Court hearing on the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate break-in and President Richard Nixon's departure from office. He also worked as a part-time instructor at American University, teaching news reporting.
Before coming to Jacksonville, Tom was a reporter at WTOP radio and WTOP-TV in Washington.
Since moving to WJXT, Tom has had the pleasure of interviewing and/or meeting every president since Jimmy Carter.“During the 11 years I lived and worked in the nation’s capital the closest I ever got to a president was the day I was assigned to stake out the White House theater during the Six Day War in 1967 in case LBJ decided to come there to make a statement. He didn’t," Tom said.
Like many other broadcast journalists, Tom also has some moments he would rather not remember. One happened while he was anchoring the weekend news dressed head to toe in bright yellow.
Tom says the favorite part of his job is that it offers a new experience every day. Tom's enthusiasm and hard work have earned him two Florida Emmys, and he shares two Columbia Dupont awards for documentary reporting.
"I didn't think it was embarrassing at the time, but looking back, it was," he said.
40th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Tom Wills: The Real Deal
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READ: Tom remembers big names, big stories in 1970s
WATCH: Inside the Wills' home | Extended interviews
Tom has many outside interests. His favorite book is "Sermon on the Mount" by Emmett Fox and his favorite movie is the Oscar-winning "Dances With Wolves."He is also an avid sports fan. He enjoys watching the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers, the Florida Gators football and all college basketball.
He and his wife, Gina, have three grown children and are now the proud grandparents of Adele and Jack.
A Pittsburgh native, Tom has a journalism degree from American University.
"Grandchildren are the dessert of life!" Tom said.On May 12, 2015, the station honored his 40th anniversary with WJXT with a one-hour, prime-time special and Mayor Alvin Brown came to the station to proclaim it Tom Wills Day in Jacksonville.
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Tom sums up his life as: "Family, faith and 4."
Get a glimpse of that life with photos from Tom's past and current life.
Watch the one-hour special: The Real Deal and see extended interviews from the program.