When I first started working for the paper I kind of knew what to expect because I had worked at a newspaper in Pikeville during my internship when I was in college, but that internship only gave me a taste of what I was about to experience as a reporter of a weekly paper. Being at a weekly is much more laid back than working for a daily paper where a deadline has to be met everyday, but nonetheless, I have learned a lot during my time here and it’s those experiences I will be able to take with me that I’m most thankful for.
As I write this, my last column (and the choir sings “hallelujah” because Lord knows how much I disliked writing this column each week), I can’t help but to be reminded of the things and experiences that being a newspaper reporter let me have and some of the people it let me meet, some of whom I was excited about, some of whom not so much. Through this job I’ve met or covered stories involving politicians on every level with Hillary Clinton being the most famous. I’ve covered several different events from rock falls and storm related damage to fatal vehicle accidents, house fires, drug busts, drownings, and shootings with the most unexpected of all the stories I’ve written being about the double murder, suicide involving former Magistrate Jimmy Darrell Neace.
This job has shown me how good people can be by allowing me to cover events like the March of Dimes, Relay for Life, and Radio Day, and has given me a first-hand look at the growth of the city and county with numerous ribbon cuttings and ground breakings along with a crash course lesson in the world known as the court system as I have covered it on the district, circuit, and federal levels in some form or another. But the three most memorable things I’ve been given the opportunity to do while here at the Herald were go into an underground coal mine, drive a rock truck on a surface mine, and fly in a black hawk helicopter to watch the Kentucky State Police marijuana eradication team in action.
Even though working here gave me opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, it has helped prepare me for the career opportunity I will be undertaking next by giving me a crash course in the court system and how it works while also letting me see the effects drugs can have on people. However, now instead of writing stories about people getting busted for drugs, I will be helping them while they work to turn their lives around. It will be a welcome change.
But before I put the finishing touches on my final column, I must express how glad I am to be writing my last column, not because I’m glad to be leaving the paper, because I will miss working here and the experiences it has brought, but because this column has been a thorn in my side for almost two years. It was the most difficult thing for me to write each week because I’m not an opinionated person, and it forced me to be just that on a weekly basis. I just hope that you enjoyed reading it more than I liked writing it, and if you didn’t that’s fine, too.
I would also like to thank Cris and everybody in the office for putting up with me for all this time, but Cris especially because he faced the arduous task each week of editing my stories. And finally, I would like to thank Publisher Josh Byers for giving me this opportunity by hiring me.
With that being said, I have to give one last shout out to my peeps at the senior center, some of the most active, fun loving people I know. I only hope I’m that active when I get their age.
So, ‘til we meet again...