A different building, but we’re still here

Published 7:12 pm Friday, July 16, 2021

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The sale on the Suffolk News-Herald’s longtime building at 130 S. Saratoga St. closed last month, and I was fortunate enough to be able to walk through one last time just before the sale was final, and then reflect on many memories, good and bad, that I accumulated there.

From September 2006 to Aug. 3, 2020, I was in that building five or six (seven, on a few rare occasions) days a week, virtually every week. Was it dedication? Or was it being a workaholic? I still don’t know. Do I regret working so much during my youngest adult years? I still don’t know.

There were a lot of blood, sweat and tears (all of them quite literal) in that building. Vomit, too, on a few occasions. I even slept there a couple of times. I was there during some of the happiest and some of the saddest moments of my life; some of the greatest and some of the scariest moments of my life.

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The most important thing I will take away from that building is that I met and fell in love with my husband there. Many of you may remember Troy Cooper as a columnist and full-time graphic designer for our paper for about five years. He moved on in 2012 (from the job, not from me, thankfully) and still is the freelance graphic designer for Suffolk Living Magazine.

So many other formative friendships developed over the years, with probably about 20 coworkers too numerous to mention. For the most part, they know who they are, but I will mention one in particular here — Res Spears, who was my editor here for more than nine years and in whose footsteps I now walk. He was and still is a mentor and friend who has helped me become a better person, better journalist and more faithful Christian. He left the paper to enter the ministry and is now the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church on Whaleyville Boulevard.

I tried to learn something from every single person who walked through those doors on Saratoga, whether it was a coworker who stayed for quite a few years (indeed, some who were with the newspaper before I was and are still here now) or just someone who stood and chatted for a few minutes.

The most important thing about the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2020, is that nobody was in the building when the tornado struck, and for that I am still grateful. Having seen the damage that day, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that someone could have been injured if someone had been here.

The most important thing about the 12 hours following the tornado is that we still got the paper out on deadline.

The most important thing about the 11.5 months that have come between then and now is that we are still here reporting on the community, just from a different building, and that we will be here for many years to come.

The building on South Saratoga Street will become apartments. As for us, we’re still here. In some ways, we are still working more remotely than we were before the pandemic, but many of us are working from our new office, 157 N. Main St., quite often. The doors are open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and other times by appointment. You can, of course, also reach us through 757-539-3437 or news@suffolknewsherald.com.