Al Allen, a Detroit media icon, retiring after 28 years at WJBK - KMSP-TV

Al Allen, a Detroit media icon, retiring after 28 years at WJBK

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By Amy Andrews
FOX 2 News

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- On the best mornings and the worst mornings, Al Allen has been there to make sure we knew what was going on in our neighborhoods. His voice is a warm, familiar blanket to comfort us through the ups and downs in the city.

Now, it's his turn to sleep in. After 28 years at WJBK, Al will retire after one last morning of reporting Friday.

"Life in Detroit without Al Allen is like Detroit without our spirit statue," said Detroit City Council President and former FOX 2 colleague Charles Pugh. "It's like Detroit without the Renaissance (Center)."

"Kids, middle-aged folks, old folks love Al Allen," said Vickie Thomas, a report for WWJ Newsradio 950.

There's no one Earth with the same laugh; the same wealth of knowledge; the same presence; the same hats.

When I came to FOX 2 in 2011 to join the morning team, I had no idea just how amazing Al is, nor that he is really part machine. He's been in the new business since 1969, a remarkable feat in itself. But what's truly incredible? Al never complains, calls in sick or misses a deadline. And, he's never met an overpass he couldn't handle. "The guy's just a true professional," said Rob Morosi, spokesman for MDOT.

When you've been at this game for more than four decades, you learn a whole about a city. You know the people like the back of your hand. You know who to call when it 'hits the fan,' and most importantly, you know exactly where to go, when you have to go.

Even one of the hardest working reporters in the business needs a break once in a while. Al spent most of those breaks at downtown gas station where he'd grab a coffee, his peanuts and brightened the days of those people who were lucky enough to run into him. "He's one of the most pleasant guys I've ever met," said Detroit resident Kris Chandoo.

Our hearts are heavy at the thought of waking up without him, but delighted with images of him still snoring well past 7 a.m.

"How on Earth are you guys going to replace Al Allen?" I've heard that question numerous times since Al announced his retirement in October.

The truth is: you simply can't.

Stay with FOX 2 News Morning Friday for special tributes to Al. You can join in as well on Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtag #weloveal and send your tweets to @FOX2News.

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