Capping nearly five decades on the air, and all of those in dawn's early light, Carol Silva signed off Friday as News 12 anchor just before 8 a.m. Her final words: "Thank you. My story has more to it. God bless you."
Ending an emotional final half-hour — indeed final week — of tributes and farewells, Silva kept her own exit speech brisk and on-point. She thanked family and colleagues assembled behind her at the anchor desk, including those two with whom she has been most closely associated on the air for well over a decade, Elizabeth Hashagen and Elisa DiStefano.
Of her own recent health crisis — stage 4 cancer, which has been successfully treated — she said, "I believe in miracles and I am a living miracle. I'm going to be around for decades more. The science and my faith have been huge."
Silva then ended her run as she has done countless times before: On time. The long, emotional farewell over, News 12 went to commercial.
Both a rock and a force at News 12, Silva, who has played a huge role in its culture and history, told viewers over the summer that she would retire in December, ending a broadcast journalism career that began on radio when she was still in college.
In mid-October, she announced she had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and had begun systemic treatment for a tumor in her lung and radiation for tumors that had spread to her brain. The treatment was a success, and after a long absence, she returned to the air Dec. 2.
For all these reasons and more, this last day was both historic and emotional. Veteran former anchor Lea Tyrrell, who left News 12 in March 2017, returned to wish her colleague a "happy retirement [and] it's probably going to be a retirement unlike anyone has ever seen."
Longtime reporter Trish Bergin — now Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, a councilwoman from Islip — was here too, saying, "I haven't been on the air in 10 years [and] I still call her and say, 'What did you think of this?'"
Along with family — son Shane, brothers Kevin and Brian — there were tributes from current colleagues, including Hashagen, DiStefano, NBC / 4 Long Island reporter Greg Cergol, News 12's Danielle Campbell, and Doug Geed, who joined News 12 at launch in late 1986.
Silva joined a few months later, but she had already been an on-air personality with Cablevision (now Altice) for several years. Friday therefore marks the end of a record as well as a legendary run.
In accordance with both, News 12 has celebrated Silva since Monday, when it launched a recurrent “Celebrating Carol Silva.” It culminated Friday morning with a series of taped farewell messages from viewers (including one who sang, or attempted to, Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas.") Debbie Gibson (of Merrick, but you already knew that) sang a taped farewell song, too.
Meanwhile, the final half-hour, which News 12 repeated throughout the morning, was topped with a reel of Silva through the decades at News 12. What it didn't include were the dozen-plus years before she joined News 12, when she was one of the best-known personalities on Long Island radio, too.
Silva, 65, hasn't said what she will do in retirement, nor did she elaborate Friday. As she has told anyone who asked, her most pressing assignment now is to prepare for her daughter Connor's wedding this spring.