Archived Story

A good time to be in Suffolk

Published 8:51pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guys like me plod cautiously through life, analyzing each opportunity, weighing the pros and cons.

Guys like Jason Fawcett seize the moment, taking no chance on an opportunity lost.

Guys like me sometimes envy guys like Fawcett, the Suffolk businessman who jumped on stage with country music superstar Luke Bryan at the Virginia Beach amphitheater a couple of weeks back and, to the delight of 20,000 screaming fans and the singer himself, danced up a storm — so impressively that Bryan, who said he’d never been shown up on stage like that before, was ready to take Fawcett on the road for the rest of the Dirt Road Diaries 2013 tour.

The guess here is that Fawcett won’t be quitting his day job as a successful landscaper anytime soon, but his zeal for living life to the fullest created a memory that surely will last a lifetime for Fawcett, his family and friends — not to mention other Suffolkians in the crowd.

My wife, Rhonda, and I were among that number, having just moved to Suffolk the weekend prior. We beamed like old-timers, though, when Bryant asked his stage guest where he was from and Fawcett boomed, “Suffolk, Va.”

He was a man clearly proud of his hometown.

“I wanted to make sure Suffolk stood out from the crowd,” Fawcett later told News Editor Tracy Agnew.

Mission accomplished.

The goal for Rhonda and me is much simpler. We’ll spend the weeks ahead blending into our new hometown and getting to know its wonderful people, places and institutions. We had a good head start, having visited Suffolk often while living in neighboring Franklin for the past seven years.

We’re here for several good reasons. We were attracted to the quality of life that Suffolk offers. We liked the Suffolk people we met. The chance to become more involved with the Suffolk News-Herald after years of helping manage the newspaper from afar was enticing.

Commentary in this space will cover all things Suffolk, including some regular insight on the News-Herald, which is enjoying unprecedented success in readership growth and product development.

In an age when many media companies are struggling for relevance in a crowded information marketplace, we’ve done a poor job of telling our success story.

It’s time we take a cue from Jason Fawcett and shed our inhibitions. We are privileged to chronicle the events, people and institutions that shape life in Hampton Roads’ fastest-growing city. We’re grateful to you, our readers and advertisers, for that opportunity.

Steve Stewart is publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald. He can be reached at 757.934.9605 or steve.stewart@suffolknewsherald.com.

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