Thanks — and goodbye

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

There’s an old saying: You can take the girl out of the country but you can never take the country out of the girl. Although that’s a cliché, it rings true relative to my wife and to an extent to myself and family. And so, I must say goodbye for now as we part ways with the Suffolk News-Herald and the Suffolk community to go back home to Tennessee. Friday was my last day with the News-Herald as I prepare to take over the helm of another newspaper in Tennessee on July 1.

It was more than seven years ago when I first suggested to my wife that in order for me to grow in my career we were going to have to leave our hometown. Having confidence in me, Melanie hesitantly agreed, and so our journey began. We left the small county in the hills for the plains of Alabama. After nearly five years there, our company asked me to come to Suffolk for what I consider to be the most enjoyable experience yet.

I arrived nearly three years ago on October 1, 2006, and although it seems like it was only yesterday when our Suffolk adventure began, there’s no doubt the relationships we’ve built here will continue for many years to come.

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My work at the News-Herald has included some of the most memorable work I’ve been part of since joining the newspaper industry. There have been good days, and there have been bad ones. However, I can sleep well at night knowing that we always put the readers first. I believe that has been the recipe for our success. Advertisers have welcomed us back into their budgets and readers have flocked to our newsstands all across the city. It’s been for me to participate in the recent mayoral elections, covering the devastation of the tornado that ripped through the city last April, establishing the two daily zoned editions, and countless other events and newsworthy items I’ve been part of.

One thing is for sure: When I’m gone, the great people who are the foundation for the News-Herald will remain. There are too many to name in this column, but each and every employee of the News-Herald plays a vital role in the daily production of your community newspaper. More important, they have a passion for what they do, and I expect you’ll continue to see that passion in the future editions of the newspaper.

As for my family — wow, where do I start? From the first day we moved to Riverview, we were welcomed to the community with open arms, and that never changed. To my colleagues at the YMCA, the United Way, the Greater Suffolk Council, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and to my fellow Rotarians, my family and I have never felt more appreciated and welcomed.

To our football, baseball and basketball families, you all made my children feel included and taught them valuable life lessons I hope will stay with them forever. For that I thank each and every one of you. I’ll forever be in your debt.

Our next stop in Tennessee will be hundreds of miles away, but we’ll always have our memories of this grand city and the wonderful people who make it so special. Those memories will last a lifetime. Thank you Suffolk, and goodbye.