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WXOW’s travel through the years: A Tale of Twin Cities

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - As WXOW celebrates 50 years on the air, we continue to take a look at some of the memorable experiences we've shared from our lens to your screen. In some ways, that helps bring the world a little closer to home.

From tours honoring our nations veterans, to local students getting a chance to shine on one of the world's biggest stages, and folks from our area answering the call to help heal those in need WXOW has provided a passport to take you places around the globe from the comfort of your home.

The stories that started it all

One of our first such ventures took viewers to La Crosse's own “French Connection.”

“That gives a way for everyone to see what we do and what other people do.” said Louise Campbell, a member of the La Crosse-Epinal Sister City Committee. Campbell said she benefits, as does the city, from a number of exchanges and visits with the European river town over the past few decades.

“It's such a different way to travel,” Campbell said. “You get to experience their people to people connections and they're enriching.”

News 19 took part in that first time delegates from La Crosse took a slice of our life to Epinal on the 10th Anniversary of the city's longest running twin-city relationship.

The start of a beautiful friendship, career

“They greeted us with open arms because finally we had come to visit.”

Then WXOW Chief Photographer Andy McDonald brought back the iconic images.

“I always wanted to travel the world and have someone else pay for it,” McDonald said.

You've likely seen some of his recent work. As director of photography for a company that produces shows for networks like HGTV, The Food Network and Discovery Channel, McDonald's worked on productions that have taken him on thrilling globetrotting adventures. It's a career for which he says the trip to Epinal helped prepare him.

“WXOW has always instilled good storytelling in me.”

McDonald got a chance to fly solo on that 1996 journey sharing the story of the UW-La Crosse choir and orchestra performing an original piece written specifically for the visit by Gary Walth. McDonald said he took that responsibility to heart.

“It was a great honor bringing Epinal back and sharing it with the people, and from what I remember, a lot of people got a lot out of seeing it,” said McDonald.

Maintaining ties

Seeing the world through this sort of lens helps bridge a gap spanning thousands of miles especially at a time when we may feel a little more isolated.

Campbell said, “The upside is there's been a lot of communication—a lot of it on social media.”

That continued communication starts with a connection—in this case over the airwaves.

McDonald said, “I think there was a great responsibility to represent La Crosse and to represent WXOW as we're those people who are going to do a good story about you.”

Dustin Luecke

Dustin Luecke anchors News 19 Daybreak weekday mornings.

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