Just like that, another chapter comes to a close.
I have spent 25 years helping to write the first rough draft of history in my little corner of the world. It is an important and rewarding task. When you love what you do, it can be sad to leave it for something new.
I was excited to move to Shawnee about four and a half years ago. It was closer to my mother and the rest of my family. It was closer to my wife's family. The News-Star is much larger than the smaller newspapers in Kansas where I was working and I was excited to have a press in my own building.
The first year was rough. It takes time to build a great team and there are always growing pains. For more than three years, we have had success in many areas. From reaching goals, to winning awards, and just generally being a fun group to go to work with every day, the News-Star staff has made me proud to lead this team.
I've worked a lot of hours, but that happens when your job is also your hobby. For all of the extra hours, I have enjoyed every minute.
I didn't ever plan to leave, but sometimes things happen in life that force your hand. Since I made the decision to leave, my goal has been to leave the business in good shape so that none of my friends and employees have to deal with any grief due to my absence. I want nothing but the best for this newspaper and the people who make it great every day.
Don't get me wrong. I know every decision I made for the past 1,500 days hasn't been perfect.
I am reminded of George Washington's farewell address when he became the first President to leave the office and allow someone new to take the helm. He could have stayed, but that wouldn't have been the best decision for him or the country he was helping to create. But even one of our founding fathers knew there were things he could have done better.
"Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error," he said. "I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend."
I second that.
As I head north to pursue a new challenge, I hope the good I did outweighs the bad. I hope Shawnee and the News-Star readers and advertisers continue to support this award-winning, hard-working and well-meaning staff. They all work hard to make Shawnee a better place to live and work. Please help them continue to serve the community in this way.
I want to thank my neighbors, my church and the readers of this newspaper for making the past four years of my life great.
A friend of mine once said, "If you want to know how long you'll be missed when you leave a job, put your hand in a bucket of water and pull it out. When the waves go still, that's about how long it will take for everyone to forget you."
I hope that isn't true. But even if I am forgotten that quickly, I won't forget the people in this area that made life great here for me and my family.
In 25 years in journalism, I have made stops in my hometown of Chickasha, seven years in Kansas, back to Shawnee and now a new chapter will begin in South Dakota soon.
“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance. They make the latitudes and longitudes,” Henry David Thoreau said.
Though there will be a great distance between us, I will always be thankful for the friends I made in Shawnee and the time we shared.