After more than 1,000 issues of the North Island Gazette, the time has come for me to move on and seek new challenges.
In my 19 years at the Gazette I’ve been involved in so many local community events and projects that hold a special place in my heart. Too many, in fact, to list them all. But a few that stand out for me are the Big Event for Hardy Buoys with my son making it on TV while Alfons Bauer tossed pizza dough; the Olympic torch visit, which again my son was involved and was a part of the Flash mob with Kendra Hall; 19 Gazette Hamper Fund Christmases; becoming a Rotarian two-plus years ago; meeting so many supportive North Islanders; working with current and former co-workers and my regular weekly clients.
All of these things and the day-to-day North Island life, happenings and fundraisers made my job THE most entertaining, exciting and unpredictable, which is what I loved the most about it. Especially in 1999 when I watched — right out of my office window — a killer whale showing its calf how to hunt sea lions. Later that day a couple hundred porpoises were chased into the bay. The whole town pretty much shut down, including the editor who was out in a boat on press day!
When I sat down to think about the most touching and inspirational moment of my 19 years with the Gazette it wasn’t hard. In 1997, after working two years with the company, we were informed that Rick Hansen, my hero, was coming to PHSS for his 10-year tour reunion. Former reporter and close friend Doug Marner, who has since passed away, asked me if I wanted to tag along on his interview with Hansen. YES! It was the only time I had the opportunity to meet Rick, show him my scrapbook of newspaper articles from his inspirational tour, which he autographed before we took a picture together.
Afterward, Charlie Walkus, then in Grade 6, wheeled himself across the gym before a standing-room-only crowd to present Rick with a gift. It was all too surreal and everyone applauded. Charlie and I have worked together every delivery day for almost 10 years and have created a wonderful relationship that I will cherish, thanks to the Gazette.
Not all of the special moments have been happy ones, but even during times of mourning or tragedy when the community has pulled together for one person or their family, the support you all give one another is absolutely amazing. It’s just another reason why I’m not going anywhere and why I love calling the North Island my home.
That said, the support North Island businesses and citizens have shown to the Gazette and myself these past 19 years has made it all worth it! I grew up while working at the Gazette. From circulation manager to publisher, I have learned so many things and met so many interesting people along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I will definitely miss my second home and my amazing team I leave at the helm but I look forward to quality time with my family and eagerly anticipate whatever life adventure is awaiting around the corner.
Thank you again for all the well wishes and kind words. It means a lot. I would like to wish the best to the incoming publisher and the team who will continue to produce a great paper each week.