WINK News evening anchor Lois Thome has spent three decades on the airwaves in Southwest Florida. The St. Anna, Wisconsin, native started her career seated alongside Jim McLaughlin, witnessing and reporting on unprecedented growth in the region.
“Working with Lois was the highlight of my 28 years,” McLaughlin said.
Thome’s colleagues are spending the day celebrating her distinguished career in journalism as well as her work in the community. The University of Wisconsin alum’s 30-year anniversary brought tributes from current co-anchor Chris Cifatte and retired WINK News meteorologist Jim Farrell among others, who celebrated her on-air tenure in Southwest Florida.
“Lois has been the best and the best to me since we both started within two months of each other in 1992,” Farrell said.
Thome reported on national news events such as the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which killed 168 people. In addition, she covered local events that became national news, including Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Southwest Florida’s resilience following the storm’s devastation.
The mother of two’s work in the community includes volunteering as a committee member for the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, helping raise millions of dollars’ worth of food for the Harry Chapin Food Bank, serving on the local board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and volunteering in area schools by reading to children and mentoring students.
Thome has earned high praise from people in high places like fellow Wisconsinite Bishop Frank J. Dewane.
“I got to know you Lois here in Southwest Florida, not only by your broadcast but from your active work in the area of charity … it’s been a real pleasure to know you, to know that events I was going to that you were going to be the MC, it told me that the event would be highly professional, that it would be a very warm and caring evening and absolutely charming.”
Thome was celebrated by the City of Fort Myers with a proclamation marking June 22, 2022, Lois Thome Day.
“Whether it’s as a lector at church or here on set,” Cifatte said, “Lois has a way of making everyone comfortable.”