We continue to honor Jodi Huisentruit with tributes from those who knew her. Joe Vigil was a friend of Jodi’s whom he met while they were journalism students at St. Cloud State and later worked together in 1992 at KGAN TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Joe is now the main co-anchor at KTVA-TV in Anchorage, Alaska. He sent this tribute as he observes this 22nd anniversary of Jodi’s disappearance.
Twenty two years later and I still can’t believe this happened to Jodi. I’m still numb and think about her a lot.
I remember getting an awful phone call from a friend in Cedar Rapids. I was working at KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma at the time. My friend left me an answering machine message telling me “something happened to Jodi.” I could tell in my friend’s voice that it was something horrible. I wanted to help, after getting all the details about what happened, but didn’t know what I could do from Oklahoma.
I ended up doing a story about Jodi and talked to a woman who worked early in the morning. I also provided safety tips. I remember talking to my co-anchor live on set saying if anyone could talk her way out of the situation it would be Jodi. I was so hopeful she would be found right away unharmed.
I met Jodi at St. Cloud State University in the late 80’s. We both were in the mass communications program, on the TV broadcast side, working on news and entertainment shows. It was a great friendship because we were both so passionate and excited about journalism.
We hosted a show together called “St. Cloud State Today.” We did feature stories around campus and we were always joking around, just having a ball.
We had a blast making pink fliers, promoting our show, and put them all over campus hoping people would watch. On the back of a picture in the editing room she called us the “Best PR Team,” and thanked me for being such a good friend and for the “trillions” of laughs.
We spent a lot of time editing the show together. She was such a perfectionist and everything had to be just right. I think she thought it bothered me, but it didn’t, because I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.
After we both graduated from SCSU we met up in Cedar Rapids at KGAN-TV around 1992. Jodi worked in the Iowa City Bureau, while I worked in the Dubuque Bureau. She called us “Bureau Buddies!” I drove to Iowa City a lot and we had a lot of fun going out on the town.
I know that Jodi was declared deceased a long time ago. But that’s still hard for me to accept. Because if something ever happened to me I know she would never give up hope, so I feel like I shouldn’t either.
I sure miss that perfect smile, from a perfect person. She is missed deeply.