Positively JAX winner made a difference for 40 years connecting Channel 4 with community

News4Jax retiree Tracy Gaffney is this month's Positively JAX Award Winner! Join us as Melanie Lawson gives Tracy the award in a special surprise.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a unanimous vote for this month’s Positively JAX award. January’s winner is a woman who just retired from News4JAX after 40 years of service.

Tracy Gaffney is someone who you rarely saw on TV, but she helped identify the needs of the community and how a local television station could help fill the gap.

The Gaffney name is very well-known in Jacksonville, from politics to five Gaffney brothers who all played football at the University of Florida. Tracy Gaffney, also a UF graduate, married into the name.

Florida quarterback Don Gaffney (8) gets trapped behind the line of scrimmage by Maryland tackle Mike Smith (90) for a loss during the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 29, 1975. The action came during the first quarter of play. (AP Photo/Mark Foley)

She started at News4JAX as a public affairs producer and host 40 years ago.

Over the years, Tracy did it all at News4JAX but she settled into doing what she loved most, representing the television station in the community. Each month she would advocate for nonprofits, presenting events that Channel 4 would eventually embrace, promote and support as if they were our own.

For example, The Children’s Christmas Party of Jacksonville, The Wolfson Children’s Challenge, Kicks for the Kids, Shoeboxes of Love and shredder days. Tracy also helped launch our Positively JAX campaign, which under her leadership has raised $16 million in less than 10 years.

Channel 4's chief elf, Tracy Gaffney, assisted by Earl Bersamin and a dozen other WJXT employees, help collect and sort the toys.

There’s one event that was near and dear to her heart: The March of Dimes March for Life. Tracy’s son was born weighing less than three pounds and lived for only four months, which made her sensitive to the support and hope the organization brings to families. Tracy brought that same energy to every event that she could attend and helped make “The Local Station,” truly local.

One of Tracy’s job responsibilities that was truly ginormous was wrangling Dino4 at different local events. He was the station’s unofficial mascot which retired in 2008 and just like Dino4, as Tracy retires she leaves behind a huge footprint at News4JAX and a strong legacy of service that is truly Positively JAX.

Walking with Dino4

About the Author:

Anchor on The Morning Show team and reporter specializing on health issues.