Former colleagues, community members remember Don Dunwell

HELENA – Don Dunwell had a lasting impact on everyone he met, from state leaders to young journalists.

He was a mentor, but more importantly a friend.

On Monday KTVH spoke with a number of people who worked with Don on a regular basis.

They shared their thoughts on don’s lasting legacy.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said, “As a reporter don was fair. He could ask questions that covered both sides of the issue. And not confront you like you see in big television. He was someone who could interview you, ask questions, and they were fair. He got to the root of what he thought needed to be answered. But he didn’t attack. He was a man with a good heart. He loved his work. He loved us and we loved him back.”

Camilla Rambaldi, former KTVH anchor, “Don Dunwell was one of those journalists who was not only an amazing mentor and friend, but he was beyond passionate about his job.  And he brought that into the newsroom when I was at KTVH every single day. And one of my favorite memories with him is just being able to walk into his office and just asking him about my stories and getting his advice. The one thing he always told me was ‘Camilla you have to ask those tough questions. You have to ask those tough questions.’  And because of that I strive every day to become a better journalist. He is someone who will be greatly missed.”

Julie Lamb-Heller, former KTVH anchor added, “You know he was never too good for anybody. He was amazing and down to earth. And even though he had what seemed like millions of years worth of experience. More than what we had. He was always willing to listen to us. And it was an amazing quality.”

Sara Stinson, former KTVH reporter, “Don was more than a mentor, more than a peer, more than a co-worker; he was someone you could always go to. Whether it was advice about a sentence and how to word it, or whether it was a life problem, or career advice. You could always feel free to go into his office and he would always be there for you. He cared deeply about the reporters and was there for a lot of us when our parents where miles and miles away. He was there acting as if he was a father figure to us. So I will never forget Don and he will be greatly missed. The one thing I think I will never forget about him is his work ethic. He never ever stopped working and he never stopped working hard.”

Governor Steve Bullock released a statement on Monday, “Lisa and I join Montanans in expressing our sincere condolences and in honoring Don Dunwell for his lifelong passion and pursuit for journalistic integrity. He will long be remembered as a kind and thoughtful voice in providing local, community-based news for Montanans.”​

Others shared their thoughts on social media:

As Don would say, “Until then we wish you good luck and Godspeed.”

KTVH writers: Curtis Grevenitz, John Riley, Mikenzie Frost, Mike Dennison and Dennis Carlson contributed to this story.