GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This week, Terri DeBoer said goodbye to WOOD TV8 after nearly 30 years with the station and more than 35 years working in local news. Throughout the week we celebrated Terri on News 8 and eightWest. Her last day on-air was Friday.
Terri will be turning her attention toward launching her own publishing company, professional coaching and spending more time with her expanding family — one of her daughters recently married and the other had Terri’s second grandson this summer.
“My retirement from broadcasting will allow me to spend more time with my family; especially my aging parents and my sweet grandsons,” Terri said. “Time goes by so fast!”
Terri’s career began in the mid-1980s as a news reporter and anchor at WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She said her “natural curiosity and love of storytelling drew her into a career in television news as a college student in 1985.”
After moving to West Michigan in 1990, Terri began working toward an additional degree in meteorology and she began forecasting West Michigan’s weather in 1992.
“I always loved nature and the environment and had been fascinated with the weather since I was a little girl,” she said. “And it seemed like the meteorologists at my television stations had the very best jobs, so I dedicated myself to becoming a meteorologist.”
Terri is proud to have been the first female in the state of Michigan to earn the prestigious Television Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society.
“It’s so fulfilling to see the number of women in meteorology skyrocket,” she said. “It’s humbling to think I was a pioneer in our industry.”
She also used her passion for the weather and love of education to develop the Storm Team 8 Weather Experience, which continues to be an industry-leading model to connect elementary school students with important concepts in weather and climate.
“As a television meteorologist, I spent countless hours traveling to hundreds of classrooms, helping to teach and reinforce important weather and science concepts to students. The creation of the Weather Experience allowed us to expand that commitment,” she said.
The program continues today.
In 2009, Terri joined Rachael Ruiz to launch West Michigan’s daily lifestyle show eightWest, which was one the first lifestyle programs in the country, allowing companies and organizations to connect their messaging to viewers through expanded and in-depth segments.
“I’m so proud of the great work and unique segments we have brought to our viewers over the past 14 years on eightWest,” Terri said.
More recently, Terri added author to her list of career accomplishments. In 2021, she released her first book, “Brighter Skies Ahead: Forecasting a Full Life When You Empty the Nest.” She followed up the release of the book and companion journal by partnering with Faith Hospice to serve as the primary author of “Grieving Well: A Healing Journey Through the Season of Grief,” published in February 2023.
Her next release, “Encore Season: Making the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life” is an inspirational guide for people entering their “golden years.” In Spring 2024, Terri will release a 366-day devotional for empty nesters.
As she steps away from her career in broadcast television, Terri will be expanding her literary efforts by starting her own small publishing company.
“My creative vision for this new company is to work with small businesses, organizations and individuals who will benefit by having a book that will tell their own story,” she said.
In 2022, Terri joined the Maxwell Leadership organization and earned coaching, leadership and communications certifications.
“I plan to use my decades of experience in broadcasting and my new skillset to coach and train individuals, small businesses and organizations in developing and delivering targeted messages,” she said.
In addition to her literary and coaching pursuits, Terri plans to spend more time with her husband Bill and their three married adult children: Jacob and Taylor, who live in Seattle; Jacqueline (Mulder) and Ben, along with Terri’s grandsons Levi and Cole, who live in St. Petersburg, Florida; and daughter Jennifer (Rennick), who lives in Grand Rapids with her husband Jason. Terri’s parents, Ronald and Helen Ferrucci, and her brother Ron live in the Kalamazoo area.
Terri will also be spending more time on the golf and pickleball courts as she tries to “drop her handicap” and “stay out of the kitchen (an area of the pickleball court).”
As Terri steps away from broadcasting, she has a long, admirable career to look back on. She recently was recognized for her contributions to broadcasting with an induction into the Silver Circle. In 2022, she became the eighth person in the history of WOOD TV8 to be honored with induction into the Michigan Emmy’s Silver Circle. The prestigious award is presented to television professionals who have impacted the media and their communities through more than 25 years of service.
“What an honor to be invited to join the Silver Circle, which recognizes professional contributions in broadcast television and a deep commitment to community service,” she said.
Community service has always been a priority for Terri. She is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan and Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation. She is a frequent volunteer and emcee at numerous community events, supporting organizations like the American Heart Association, Faith Hospice, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, area Chambers of Commerce and many more.
“Being connected to my community through service is one of my core beliefs,” she said. “I have been so greatly blessed to have such an incredible career that I have always wanted to be a blessing to others.”
Terri will be missed around the station.
“Terri has been an incredible member of our team, with a big heart for serving our community,” said Julie Brinks, WOOD TV8 vice president and general manager. “We will miss her guidance to our audience in preparing for the day ahead each morning, but also recognize that she has earned the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, and to pursue her interests without a 3 a.m. wake-up call.”
Terri said she will miss her colleagues, whom she called “the brightest, most talented and dedicated journalists in the country.”
“WOOD TV8 is a special place; a legacy station with a commitment to serving the viewers of West Michigan by providing the most essential information every single day,” she said.
News 8 wishes Terri all the best in this next “season” in her life.