Gail Pennybacker of ABC 7, on a story last year about training service dogs for wounded veterans, investigates whether the puppies really are "cuddly" and "adorable." Then that part got cut from the piece. (WJLA)

I saw this first hand when I followed Gail Pennybacker, the “Northern Virginia bureau chief” from ABC 7 around for part of a day on a research project. She was getting thrown into one story, then pulled off mid-day and put on another story, scrambling around for video, pulling together research, trying to convince people to go on camera. It’s hard, man.

But I’d seen Gail out on countless breaking news and investigative stories over the years, knocking on doors and chatting with cops for long hours, so seeing her work hard was no surprise. Now after 26 years at WJLA, she’s taking off, moving to Texas to be near her parents and one of her sons in college. She recently earned her masters degree in criminal justice from Montgomery College Boston University and hopes to make some use of that down there. She said the grind of running from story to story, day after day, can get old. No doubt.

Back in the early ‘90s, Gail was first with the Marv Albert sex scandal story, and she of course was all over the sniper case, Sept. 11, and Virginia Tech. She’s not only very smart but ridiculously nice, unlike some TV reporters (Pat Collins). She’s from Johnson County, Kansas, which is “the Fairfax County of Kansas City,” and attended Kansas State, a quality college (unlike Pat Collins).

Her last day is Friday. In Northern Virginia, which was her beat for many years, she will be missed (unlike...)

P.S. Pat Collins is a friend, and we went to the same college (MANY years apart), but he doesn’t read this blog so he won’t see this.