With only seven days left as the editor of the Pine Island Eagle, (due to the move Jason and I are making to NE Tennessee), the push to find someone to replace me has come full circle. A few applicants have called me to find out the “scoop” of the paper in the last few days. These phone calls made me realize how much I have grown to like the Pine Island community, as well as the paper that I have worked so hard on week after week.
This sweet gal who recently moved from Rhode Island to Southwest Florida called with a list of questions this afternoon after she talked with Val, the executive editor about the position. Her enthusiasm for the possibility of becoming the new editor was contagious, which made me reflect upon the moment I was offered the job 18 months ago.
As her questions were answered and we got to know each other a little more, my excitement for her grew as she became more excited about the job. Although I do not have a final say in who replaces me, I decided to call Val and share the nice conversation we had on the phone.
It’s amazing how much of an impact you can have on a community through writing. On the flip side, it is amazing how much the community can have an impact on you as well.
A woman who I have grown to know since I started at the Eagle, due to her involvement in one of the groups that raises money for the island, showed me so much support tonight. She came up to me and asked if she could have a hug, which of course I provided. That hug was then followed by many incredibly sweet remarks of what I have done with the Eagle. As she wished me luck in my next endeavors and shared how much she was going to miss me, she had to cut it short because her eyes were swelling with tears and she did not want to cry.
Another sweet moment that I will carry with me forever…
The wonderful thing about that moment is another woman soon picked up on who I was and instantly shared her feelings. She said she stopped reading the paper for a good amount of time because she was not happy with it, which she said changed when I began. A paper she did not go out of her way to pick up now makes her excited every week to go and get, so she can read the news of her community.
This community constantly thanks me for the paper I produce, their paper that they love. There is no need to thank me, writing is my passion, finding the stories and creating something for the community to enjoy is not work. It’s simply what I believe any reporter and editor would want to accomplish if they are given the opportunity to make a paper their own.
Overwhelemed is an understatement of how all these people leave me feeling after they share their thoughts and feelings about the paper, as well as about me.
It will be bittersweet next Friday as I say goodbye to the community I have grown to know through the many articles I have published. There were countless memories made on this little island, many memories with individuals I would not have met otherwise.
What a journey, what a learning experience, what an incredible memory to take with me as we travel to Tennessee, where I hope to again make an impact on the community in which I work.
I am incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in this island community as their editor and transform their newspaper into something I will always be proud of producing.
It’s amazing that all of these emotions rose with the simple phone call from a hopeful reporter who has applied for my position.
What is there not to love about a profession that provides that much emotion, good emotion?
Wow is all I am left to say.