It’s hard to believe, but this is it

I’ve had weeks when it’s been difficult to write this column. Sometimes it was because my kids and wife hadn’t done anything worthy of writing about. Other times it was because I was overloaded with work and didn’t get to it.

This week’s column is difficult to write for a different reason. After nearly a decade of sharing my life with readers, this week’s column will be my last.

For me, this announcement is bittersweet. After 26 1/2 years of sharing the stories/news in and around Darke County, I will be moving onto the next chapter in my life. I have accepted the position of executive director for Main Street Greenville and Darke County Visitors Bureau. (See front page story)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing each of you into my home a couple times a month. If I could speak on-behalf of my wife and kids (and let’s face it – I have been speaking on their behalf since I started writing this column) they’ve enjoyed sharing their lives with readers.

Even though I’ve never mentioned their names, my family is amazed at how many people that have mentioned this column. My wife has people ask her about my column where she works. We’ve been sitting in restaurants (but not in the last few weeks because we are practicing social distancing) and had people start talking to us about things I have written. My wife especially loves it when they ask about her snoring.

This will be the first time I’ve named my family in a column, but I want them to know how much I appreciate them for allowing me to share how weird they are. Thank you Mindy (wife), Nicole (oldest daughter), and Hannah (youngest daughter). As my stories indicate, you guys really make my life a lot of fun.

If you want to continue to see how weird they are, feel free to follow me on Facebook. I don’t vent about politics or how much I hate an individual or job. My Facebook page is about me and my family.

I started working for The Early Bird when our office was in Arcanum and I’ve seen the newspaper business go through many changes. My first computer had a big floppy disk you had to have for the word processing program and there was no email. We had to type every stinking press release – no copy and pasting.

I’ve worked with a lot of great people over the years and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. Granted, some of them I learned what not to do. A couple years after Norma Jenkins hired me, she told me that John Ball didn’t think she should hire me because I wouldn’t be here long. I think I exceeded his expectations. Not only did she give me an opportunity to write, she gave me an opportunity to fall in love with this community – and I did. I also thank John and Carol Ball for trusting me to become editor when she left.

When Fred and Keith Foutz purchased the paper, they not only put their trust in me to continue as editor, but they also created a passion in me to want to give more to the community than I have ever given before and I know I was part of a great team that built something incredible.

I could list person after person of those I’ve worked with over the years and I would probably forget some of them, but there were a few of us that worked together for more than two decades – Shannie, Jane and Carol Preston (we had so many Carols that I had clarify which one). They are like family to me. My staff has always been incredible – June, Joan, Joy, Bob, Clinton, Jim, Paul, Susan, Linda, Beth and Gaylen. I’ve been blessed to have worked with each of you.

Although I’m leaving the newspaper, I’m thrilled to be part of something that I have a passion for – Greenville and Darke County. When you can, come downtown to shop or dine and enjoy a First Friday or visit one of our many tourist attractions – we’ve got a lot of great ones. Or, just stop by the Visitors Center in downtown Greenville and say hi.

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