Tom's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Crazy Babbling Sunshine

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Albuquerque, NM

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 8

  • ON DVD:

TOM RUTHERFORD

Co-founder
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

“Sometimes life is overwhelming. Doing the next right thing is a good byword.”

INTERESTS:

Politics Travel

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Individualism Talent Values Perseverance

FOUNDATION:

Working with Others

TAGS:

albuquerque, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, alcoholic, ballooning, broadcasting, disk-jockey, dj, Entertainment, family, gift, hot air balloons, international balloon museum, NBC, radio, right thing, sacrifices, son, stations, The Rutherford Group, time

BIOGRAPHY:

  • His father was a politician so he grew up helping him out on campaigns.
  • One day, while he was reading a bill out loud, someone suggested that he should become a radio broadcaster.
  • When he was 15, he became a disc jockey; he was working for the local NBC station.
  • For their fiftieth anniversary of broadcasting, they decided to have a hot air balloon race.
  • He organized 13 balloons to come to Albuquerque to race; afterwards, he stayed interested in hot air ballooning.
  • His interest in politics continued; in 1972, he won his campaign for state senate and became the youngest state senator in New Mexico's history.
  • Throughout all of this time, he was struggling with alcoholism; he hit rock bottom, then sobered up around age 46.
  • His only regret in life had been that he didn't spend enough time with his family; now gets to lobby with his son, an opportunity he calls "a gift."

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