By Steve Robinson | December 4, 2017 - 9:06 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

ray regalYou never know just who you might encounter on vacation, even when you’re trying to get away from the Twin Cities for a while.

On the way to my vacation to watch Illinois State University’s Men’s Basketball team take on host Nevada-Reno, I had to take a flight that made connections at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. That meant changing terminals. Once I got to the terminal to meet up with the connecting flight, I passed a kiosk manned by folks the airport calls their “Ambassadors,” – folks who volunteer to give help such as directions to restrooms and other needs, to the travelers they see pass by them, some of those travelers needing assistance, every day.

I wore a baseball cap with ISU’s Reggie Redbird mascot as I went through the airport, and as I passed one kiosk, the gentleman manning it saw what I was wearing and called out, “Go You Redbirds!” The fact he called out the current battle cry of this hometown team that far from home caught my attention because it was exact. He didn’t just say “Go Redbirds” or “Go Cardinals” as some folks mistakenly are prone to do if they aren’t familiar with the area, but specifically, “Go You Redbirds!”

That caught my attention enough that I pulled out my cell phone and asked if I could interview him. Meet Ray Regal, ISU Class of 1972, who has lived in Dallas for a number of years and for about the last 10 had worked in a clothing store at DFW International before retiring a year ago. Once he retired, Regal joined a corps of 643 Airport Ambassadors who offer assistance to travelers to help them get through to their destination while they are at the 18,500 sq. acre facility. DFW International’s Ambassador Program will turn 20 years old next year, according to Mehdi Mowstowfi, a shift supervisor for the program.

Regal, 67, majored in Speech Communication/Radio-Television and minored in History during his time at ISU. He did radio work on campus at ISU’s National Public Radio affiliate, WGLT FM. Once he graduated from ISU, he worked at radio stations in Taylorville, Springfield, and Princeton, getting as far hitting the airwaves as Kansas City, Mo. before needing to make a career switch.

“Kansas City is basically where my radio career ended,” Regal said. “I did sportscasting and other things at the time and had a lot of fun doing it.”

A number of Regal’s memories of ISU centered around the protests on campus against the Vietnam war, he explained. “There were interesting happenings on the quad by the Old Main Bell then,” he said.

He said one of his most memorable WGLT interviews he conducted was with athlete Joanie Weston, who went on to fame as a star of roller derby in the 1950s and 1960s.

Regal said the last time he visited Normal and the campus was “about 10 years ago and I couldn’t believe how much the campus had changed.”

This entry was posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 9:06 pm and is filed under The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.