I actually never thought I would write this editorial, but my time has come. Maybe my recent heart valve replacement made me want to try new things, or maybe it’s the fact that we have no kids at home anymore (though they come home with laundry and raid the refrigerator at times). Whatever the reason, a new opportunity has surfaced that will take me and Karen, my wife, out of the Valley. We are headed east to Moses Lake, the Columbia Basin and a new adventure.
It’s been a tough decision, but I don’t want to kick myself for not trying new things when it’s time to reflect on life. Besides, we can always come back to the Valley, the place we will always call home.
Reflecting back on why this has been the best job in the world is easy. It’s the connection to the community. Twelve years sitting in the publisher’s seat has afforded me the opportunity to make many great friendships, far more than if I was not the publisher. But the role of publisher showed me how important it is to get involved in a community. Sure, I would complain about something in an editorial, but more importantly, those I was criticizing would invite me to help — what a concept.
Friday night lights will be one of the biggest things I will miss. There are few places as exciting as the Mount Si High School stadium on a Friday night. The smell of hamburgers cooking, lots of friendly faces, the smell of players’ uniforms that haven’t been washed in a few weeks and the game with great catches, fantastic tackles and determined coaches. But football isn’t the only thing that I will miss. All the sports programs, for the past 12 years, have been captured through my camera lens. Most of those athletes remember those pictures, years later, and truly appreciate the coverage provided by the Valley Record. Few newspapers cover high school athletics like this paper and even fewer newspapers have the commitment to their community like this one.
I also enjoyed raising our kids in the business. James and Lynnae would both get off the bus, right outside the office every day. They were troupers as they spent many late evenings doing odd jobs around the office while mom and dad were busy working. One particular moment, enduring an earthquake in the darkroom with James, while the lights were out, was a hair-raising experience. But we didn’t panic and didn’t turn on the lights and spoil the film. I especially enjoyed their columns, James’ Pressbox and Lynnae’s Beanie Baby column. It was a reflection of what we were doing on a weekly basis and highlights the fun things they did growing up. It’s more enjoyable to read them now, reflecting back.
For those who think I can’t be replaced, you are wrong. At least 10 other publishers have sat in this very seat and made the decision to move on for various reasons. Some still haunt the halls of the Valley Record offices, but the fact is, all of them were replaced and Karen and I will be no different. Someone new will step into this role, take the work of the past 12 years and improve it, make it stronger, add to our sense of community. Only a paper with deep roots in the Valley can do that, and the Valley Record is the only paper that has those deep roots in this market.
So what are we doing? Many of you know that we have had a retreat in Eastern Washington, at Blue Lake, in the Sun Lakes area. It has been a plan, in the back of our minds, to eventually move that direction. But a recent job opportunity at the Columbia Basin