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OPINION: Thank you and farewell, Crenshaw County

I don’t really even know where to start with this, so I will just jump right in. This week will be my last week as the editor for The Journal, and I cannot express how truly grateful I am to have worked here.

This community is one unlike any other I have ever seen. This is such a tight-nit group of students, parents, administrators, government officials and more…it’s truly amazing. You guys really do welcome those of us who transplant in, and for that I am grateful.

It’s never easy to come into a new community with no knowledge of how the towns run, who to talk to, where to go and how to get there, but you guys have helped me out more than I can ever say.

You guys gave me a second home. You gave me a loving and supportive community, and you embraced me and showed me the ropes. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but as a whole, you guys have really made this job enjoyable.

Until I took this job, I had no idea what it meant to be a small town reporter. I had it in my head that all newspaper jobs were the same, and it was all about hard, breaking news and the next big scandal to hit the streets. But it’s not that at all.

Small town reporting is about just that: small towns. And what makes a small town so memorable and unique? The people and places in it. It’s not about what you can find in every single town in America; it’s about finding the stories that are specific to your area.

I can’t tell you what a difference it made in my life the day that concept really sunk in. It was like a light came on, and it became my mission to always find the best feature story I could.

Yes, there are still a lot of newsworthy elements that happen on our streets, but with so much negativity happening in the world around us, isn’t it nice to just pick up the paper and see your grandson on the front? Or isn’t it nice to know that the local high school bands are thriving in their competitions?

You may disagree, but I think that’s what makes The Journal different and more special than huge publications. We focus on you and your family. We want to feature your kids, your events and your opinions. And I am so thankful to have been a part of that, even if it was for just a short time.

Thank you. Thank you all for being so loving to me. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, thank you for sharing your precious family moments with me and thank you for giving me this opportunity.

I’m so thankful that I’ve been here through some big changes. I’ve seen three mayors come through the office of City Hall for just the City of Luverne alone. I was able to cover the local and national election processes and see the preparation and time that goes into each campaign. I’ve seen the laughter, the tears and the victories, and I am so glad I had the chance to see them.

I saw the Brantley High School Lady Bulldogs take the state championship title for the third year in a row. I got to see my cousin honored for the work he does in the Veterans Memorial Park in Luverne this past Veterans Day.

I got to see Mr. Jim Head’s final performance and then watch his students carry on his legacy.

I’ve stood on the sidelines at football games, I’ve been almost taken down by basketball players racing for the ball and I’ve found more appreciation in the art of photography.

I’ve made lasting relationships with students through their work with the paper, and I am beyond excited to see where they go in life.

Crenshaw County, I bid you the fondest farewell. You guys will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful that my first big time job was at The Luverne Journal. This was the best possible start for me, and now my time has come to a close.

Thank you for everything, Crenshaw.