Gail Pennybacker: ABC7 says goodbye and good luck

ABC7's Gail Pennybacker.

With mixed feeling, we are saying goodbye and good luck to ABC7 reporter Gail Pennybacker.

After 26 years of covering our community, Gail is moving to Texas to be close to family. We take a look back now on her award-winning career.

Viewers first met Gail in 1986. Since then, she has become one of the most respected journalists in the Washington area.

Gail broke national news in 1997, reporting the sex scandal of famed sportscaster Marv Albert.

"I had a contact within the Arlington County Police Department who called me and said, 'You are never going to believe what happened last night,'" Gail says. "This was an investigation, so charges had not been filed, so I had to hang on to this story .... until I got the phone call that they had just come out of the grand jury and indicted Marv Albert."

One of the most frightening stories Gail ever covered was the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002, when John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized this entire region for weeks, randomly killing people.

"I had small children at home and I needed to take care of them, knowing this threat was roaming around my community and then having to go out in the middle of it and I will tell you, there were many times we were out on those sniper scenes and the hair on the back of our necks would stand-up because you had this sense they were watching us."

Gail also turned war correspondent, venturing to the Middle East.

And of course, September 11, 2001.

"The police officers, firefighters and people in the military, to be privileged enough to tell their stories have been some of the most important to me."

For Gail's grace, integrity and compassion and for her 26 years of service to our station and to our viewers, we will always be grateful.

WATCH the full interview with Gail Pennybacker: