WASHINGTON — A familiar Cox Radio voice is determined to be heard again.
Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree has spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill, but nearly two years ago, his method of communication had to change.
Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for his brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak.
"It's hard, but I am working to come back hard," Dupree tells WSB Radio.
He is now hoping a meeting with specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will help him figure out why he lost his voice.
And the reporter in him has not quit.
"He still does interviews; he feeds us audio," WSB Radio News Director Chris Camp says. Dupree also covers Congress via Facebook, Twitter and Cox Media Group websites.
“He may not be able to talk, but boy you can hear him awful loud,” Camp adds.
Dupree is thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that is not what he says hurts him the most.
“Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.”
Dupree says Emory researchers are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of his tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, Jamie wants everyone to know his overall health is good.
"Even though he can't speak, Jamie is still the most trusted voice in Washington DC," WSB Radio's Bill Caiaccio says of his colleague and friend. "He was already the hardest working reporter in our nation's capital, and now he works even harder to get the job done."
WSB Radio anchor Chris Chandler echoes those sentiments, saying, "I've always said Jamie is the most valuable on-air presence on our stations, and he still is.
“There's not a word of news from Washington that he hasn't reported and broken down for us.”
Mark Arum, WSB Radio traffic anchor and talk show host, adds that Dupree is an invaluable resource: "He might have lost his voice, but he still has the drive to get the story and get it right."
Sabrina Cupit, who anchors midday for WSB Radio, says Dupree is so much more than his voice: "His knowledge of Washington, his connections, his balanced reporting; they are all still a major part of what we do on air every day here at WSB.
“Personally, I have never met a kinder, more honest or just downright great human being in my life. I am praying for the return of his voice. I do miss hearing it.”
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Jamie Dupree is a reporter for the Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau.