Kelly Jo McDonnell-Weiner, 33, was recently awarded an Emmy from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for serving as the producer on a two-part television magazine feature segment, "Hunt of a Lifetime."
She and others from a television crew tagged along with then 12-year-old Scott Barton, who was diagnosed with leukemia and granted a dream pheasant hunting trip in Pierre, S.D., through the Hunt of a Lifetime organization on Oct. 19, 2001.
"It just turned out great. I'm so proud of it," said McDonnell-Weiner of the television piece. "... Scott was going through chemo at the time, but he was keeping his chin up. He really made the story easy because he was a great little kid."
McDonnell-Weiner has worked for the past eight years for the Ron Schara Enterprises production company, which produces the outdoors shows "Minnesota Bound" on NEC and "Backroads with Ron and Raven" on ESPN2.
"It was a shock," McDonnell-Weiner said upon receiving the prestigious Emmy Award. "I really didn't think I'd actually get it. It's an honor just to be up for one."
The coveted Emmy recognizes outstanding achieve-ments in television.
Presentation of this award is intended to be an incentive for the continued pursuit of excellence for those working in the television industry, as well as a chance to focus public attention on cultural , infomational, education and entertainment achievements in television.
McDonnell-Weiner is a 1988 graduate of Clay Central-Everly High School in Royal, a 1992 graduate of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, and a master's graduate from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn. She resides in Uno Lakes, Minn., with her husband, Mike, and their 6-month-old son, Hayden.
"Working in television was a goal of mine," said McDonnell-Weiner. "But, I never dreamed I would be an Emmy winner, not ever."
Although she was not able to personally receive the Emmy because she had just given birth to her first child, McDonnell-Weiner said someone else from the company delivered an acceptance speech for her.
"The Emmy was at my house for the first few weeks. I kind of joked with my husband that I actually used it as a doorstop for the baby room one day," she chuckled. "But, then I brought it back into the production office. I figured it was a little safer here."