My first day at the Guthrie News Leader was on Monday, January 21, 2013. That was just yesterday, right? It sure feels like it to me anyway. I’ll never forget walking in on my first day and immediately being thrown into the fire writing recap stories— needless to say, I was hooked. Now, after seven-and-a-half years, it’s time for me to say goodbye. That’s the single hardest sentence I think I have ever typed.
I was 23-years-old when Belinda Ramsey took a chance and hired me. I remember driving from Edmond to the Guthrie News Leader for my initial interview. My mother did her best to temper expectations, saying “No one gets hired right out of college, but this will be a great experience builder for you.” I called her 45-minutes later telling her I got the job. I will forever be indebted to Belinda for seeing something in me all those years go.
In my time at the Leader, I have worked with some of the best people on the planet. In the specific sense of gratitude, I owe everyone below two things: My thanks, and as people who worked with me, a long-overdue request for forgiveness.
The Guthrie News Leader staff past and present:
To Belinda Ramsey for the reason stated above, but for also showing me how to work hard and to be fearless in this industry. To Pam Nelson for believing in me. To Rochelle Stidham for giving me the freedom to be creative. To Karan Ediger—there aren’t enough words for me to string together to possibly encompass everything you have meant to me. You made me a better writer, but most importantly, a better person. I cannot thank you enough and I hope you know that three sentences don’t even begin to scratch the surface.
To Jennifer Tennyson—thank you for being my friend from the very first day. I will cherish our war stories forever. Mike Monahan, you went out of your way every single day to help me and show me the ropes. You always went to bat for me and for that I am thankful. To Emily Brashier, James Tillison, Tami Boxley, Kala Plagg, Meg Morgan, and Hollye Carroll, thank you for all the conversations and life advice you have given me over the years. To Lucy Swanson, thank you for demanding more out of me and for always making the office a happier place with your singing.
Good lord, there are a lot of people and I’m still going to leave some people out. Sorry, let’s keep going.
Logan County media past and present:
Thank you to Mark Radford for being a light in this industry. You are so thoughtful and are always there to lend an ear or a helping hand and I will cherish our memories together. Thank you to Chris Evans for being a mentor to me. You could have easily ignored and neglected me and that would’ve been completely understandable, but instead, you took me under your wing. To Phil Nichols, thank you for being my friend and for looking after me. I will miss our road trips. To everyone on the Guthrie football broadcast team, thank you for accepting me right away and making me feel at home.
Coaches and administration:
This is a huge list, again, sorry if I leave anyone out. Thank you to Rafe Watkins, Jon Chappell, Chase Langley, Kara Tarrant, Clay Tarter, Casey Porter, Sean Morgan, Justin Stevens, Monte Myers, James Strahorn, Mike Lowe, Ric Meshew, Terry Bennet Jr., Scott Mick, Mary Hudson. Kelly Beeby for always taking the time to talk to me. Booker Blakley is the GOAT. Lynn Shackelford, John Hardaway, Tony Wood, Ronnie Maple, J.L. Fisher, Shawn Booth, Karl Butt, Sam Stephens. Josh Sumrall can coach as good as he cooks, and if you know him, you know that’s pretty dang good. Tom Webb, Shane Weathers, Ryan Weathers, and Marcus Cooper—thank you for always making me feel at home in Coyle.
To you, the reader:
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to you— the reader. Thank you for allowing me to do this job. Thank you for allowing me into your homes. Thank you for allowing me to tell your story and your kid’s stories. Thank you for allowing me to cover sports for a living. Thank you for every kind word that you have said to me. I cannot tell you how much those phone calls or emails meant to me.
When I started here nearly a decade ago, I had no idea what the future held for me. I met my wife here and now we are one month away from having our first child. It’s crazy how life works out. I owe the Guthrie News Leader for everything that I love and hold dearly in my life. I would be a fool to not give the biggest thanks in the world to my wife, Ashley. She has been by my side every step of the way and I cannot wait to raise little Drew Ivy with you.
There’s a saying that all good things must come to an end. So why does this hurt so bad? Why are tears welling up as I type this? Probably because I loved this job. I loved it all. The late nights, the to-go meals in the car, the deadlines, the interviews…all of it. I’ll cherish it all.
This might not be the end. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be back. I hope that happens. But for now, I just want to say thank you for the memories.
Now it’s time to go make new ones.