GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meet Michelle Dunaway, our newest FOX 17 Morning News anchor!
Here are 10 fun facts about Michelle.
1) Her Tribe
(Not pictured and mad about it: Esme)
Michelle’s biggest cheerleaders are her husband of 17 years, Kevin, her 13-year old daughter, Elle and their two golden doodles, DeeDee and Esmerelda. They love to travel and explore, visit museums, go to the theatre and try new restaurants, but they are also content cuddling up on the couch for movie nights during our long Michigan winters. Clearly, many of those are Star Wars movies.
2) She's Almost a Michigander
(Rabbit Bay in the Keweenaw Peninsula, UP)
Michelle was born and raised in the Chicago area but moved to northern Michigan in 2000 when she started as a reporter for 9&10 News, the CBS/FOX affiliate in Traverse City/Cadillac. So, while she’s not a true native, she’s spent nearly half her life in the Mitten, and loves it as if she was born here. Her favorites: the gorgeous, sandy beaches, the unbelievable views & vistas, hiking trails, waterfalls, sunrises & sunsets, the culture (and food!) in our fabulous cities and the friendly midwestern attitude.
3) For Better or for Worse
(Preseason 2013, still looking for a ring)
Michelle’s husband has always been a die-hard sports fan – from the Lions, Tigers and Pistons to U of M football and basketball, and it’s rubbed off on the rest of the family. They often attend games (home and away) – and hold out hope for some winning seasons. Her daughter was able to design a Lions Super Bowl ring during a visit to the NFL Hall of Fame. Because … the Lions.
4) Favorite Work Moments
(Photo taken somewhere over Lake Michigan just before she passed out!)
Michelle has been in the news business for nearly 22 years, so there are plenty of highlights. Her first job was in Dubuque, Ia. during the caucuses in 1998. She was able to interview many prominent politicians, including George W. Bush, before his presidential victory. In Michigan, she’s had plenty of incredible adventures. She’s ventured to the top and the bottom of the Mackinac Bridge, toured the inside of the Soo Locks, flown with the Blue Angels and is so grateful to have been able to share countless stories about amazing people. She feels privileged to be able to continue her career in West Michigan! (Photo taken somewhere over Lake Michigan just before she passed out!)
5) A Horse Girl at Heart
(National Pleasure Equitation Olympics, Springfield, Ill. 1993)
One of Michelle’s passions is horses. She was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ride and show several amazing American Saddlebreds as a teen and young adult. She won two national championships, got top ten at the World’s Championship Horse Show and made so many memories along the way. She credits the discipline it takes to work with horses for much of her successes as an adult. While she doesn’t ride nearly as much as she would like to, horses will live forever in her heart.
6) Life-changing Experiences
(Patulul, Guatemala, 2017)
While there have been many memorable moments in her career, she’s had one experience that will always stick out in her mind. She was able to travel with a photographer and a group of northern Michiganders on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. They spent several days shooting stories about the impact these volunteers have on the communities they serve. They were also able to pitch in and help treat some of the patients who have little to no access to medical care. These people (lots of whom were very sick or injured) walked miles to the clinics, waited for hours and still were so happy, so grateful and so kind. It will remain one of the most impactful experiences she’s ever had in her life thus far.
7) One Foot in Front of the Other
(Cadillac McDonalds, 2017)
One thing Michelle loves about being in the news business is the ability to use the platform for good. A few years ago, some great minds came up with a way to raise awareness and money for the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan -- have Michelle walk from the McDonalds in Traverse City to the McDonalds in Cadillac. 14 hours and nearly 50 miles later, the event raised almost $30,000 for the RMHWM. The next year, she cycled 100 miles to end at the tour at the RMHWM in Grand Rapids. It’s such a wonderful organization, and she’s looking forward to giving back to them in other ways, now that she’s a local!
8) The Gift of Service
(Manistee Polar Plunge with her favorite leprechaun/EP, Jamie, 2018)
Charity and nonprofit work is extremely important to Michelle – and she tries to be involved in a number of ways, from bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, to serving on both local and statewide boards. She is currently a board member for Special Olympics Michigan, an organization that is so close to her heart. You can often find her at a Polar Plunge, volunteering at games or emceeing events. She is excited to be so close to their new building (the Special Olympics Unified Sport and Inclusion Center - the largest SO training facility in the WORLD!) and to promote the athletes and volunteers.
(Michigan Emmy Awards with the unbelievable Corey Adkins, 2012)
Her first-ever award was from the Associated Press for best sports story – strange, because it was the only sports story she had ever done. Another stand out for her was the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Reporter of the Year in 2010. She’s most proud of her two Michigan Emmy Awards. Much of the credit for any accolade goes to the amazing photographers she’s had the pleasure of working with over the years (there have been many)!
10) For Fun!
(Vík, Iceland, 2018)
When she’s not working or momming, Michelle loves to work out – from strength training to running, riding and dog walking – it’s all therapy! She loves to cook for a group and find reasons to celebrate with friends. Traveling was a huge part of their lives before the pandemic, and she’s hoping to get moving again soon! Some of her favorite places include New Orleans, Italy, Portugal, Iceland and Costa Rica. She would love her next adventure to be somewhere she’s never been. For now, she’s more than content to embrace and explore her new community of West Michigan, get to know her new team and settle into her role at Fox 17!