Over the years, anchor Linda Yu made positive impact in community

Monday, November 21, 2016
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ABC7 anchor Linda Yu was dedicated to many community groups that helped children.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Linda Yu retires on Wednesday after 33 years, but her career and life have gone far beyond the anchor chair.

It's a great reward at the end of the ride to be able to look back and see you've made a positive impact. Yu has done that on many levels as a broadcaster, but the Chicagoan has also given back to the community.

For thousands of immigrants over the years, the Chinese American Service League (CASL) in Chicago has been a portal to a new culture, new language and new home. The transitions for so many would have been next to impossible without CASL, which is a thriving organization today though was far smaller back in 1979 when Yu - Chicago's first Asian American TV anchor -- arrived in town.

Bernie Wong, CASL's long-time CEO, decided to ask the young newscaster if she'd like to lend a hand. Wong said it was her best decision.

"She's the pillar of CASL," Wong said. "I mean, I don't think CASL would be at the same place that we are at now."

Yu's commitment was immediate - from the first moment she visited CASL's tiny office - and climbed a stairwell crowded with families and tiny faces.

"It was probably the first time I went to help that had such an impact on me," Yu said. "That made me always, always, to this day, say, 'The people that they help are me.'"

For all these years, Yu has remained an integral part of CASL - time, money, leadership and vision.

"When we have finished with one successful event that night she'll be laying in bed thinking about how we can do it better next year," Wong said.

Linda has done countless stories on children. How the children of Belfast have been scarred by religious and social hate. How Polish children in Europe were stranded by the bureaucracy of immigration. How asphalt playgrounds in Chicago were a danger in waiting. Her passion for children - especially those who are disadvantaged - has filled her life beyond television.

"The work that she's done for us - it's endless and it's so highly valued and has really moved our agency forward in positive ways," David Wiercinski, of the Juvenile Protective Association. "She's just an amazing lady."

Yu for years served on the boards of the Juvenile Protective Association and the March of Dimes.

Hers are not ceremonial commitments. She's fully invested.

"She remembers the kindness and the goodness that made it possible for her to be successful, and I think she takes the responsibility of returning that to others very seriously," said Kim Byas, of American Hospital Association/March of Dimes.

Yu has demonstrated over the years that the benefits of hard work and the blessings of good fortune are meant to be shared. That's a heartfelt practice that doesn't end with retirement.