What a great 65th birthday

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My 65th birthday was quite a day last Tuesday.

During the day, there were so many kind deeds from my family, colleagues and news sources that they are almost too numerous to mention.

I began the day in Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church thanking the good Lord for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me, not the least of which was the opportunity to cover so many outstanding student athletes at Bainbridge High School during the past 39 years.

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While on the way to the office after Mass, I thought about the many joys, sorrows and good times I shared with so many colleagues through the years.

I thought about my dear friend, Sam Griffin Jr., long time owner and publisher of The Post-Searchlight, his dear wife, Mary Ann, and the his dear late father, Gov. Marvin Griffin, who gave an inexperienced young man just out of college an opportunity to begin his journalistic career 39 years ago.

I also thought about The Post-Searchlight’s current owners Boone Newspapers, and publisher Jeff Findley, who has been so supportive of me during the past year.

I thought about Mary Frances Donalson, my dear friend and colleague for many years, who is winning the fight against cancer and was able to join us for a birthday lunch on Wednesday, which managing editor Carol Heard hosted for me and reporter Taylor Seay, who was 24 last Tuesday.

Mary Frances is always there to lend a Christian helping hand to those in need.

I will be eternally grateful for the kindnesses she and the Griffin family showed me when my dear late mother was a resident of Memorial Manor Nursing Home.

I also thought about how blessed I am to work with a professional staff like our current newsroom staff.

Being the senior citizen of the newsroom, I feel blessed and privileged for the opportunity I have to work with a bright young publisher like Jeff and three bright young journalists like Carol, Taylor and Brennan Leathers.

My newsroom colleagues and the rest of The Post-Searchlight’s fine staff gave me a beautiful birthday cake and a sizable gift certificate. Carol gave me a couple of beautiful new shirts .

Knowing I am a big Florida State University Seminoles football fan, Col. Gary Breedlove, Senior Master Sgt. Frank Geslak and members of their Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC program gave me a a Florida State University Seminoles football, which contained a birthday wish from Seminoles head football coach Bobby Bowden, Seminoles offensive coordinator and coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher and FSU athletic director Col. Randy Spetman.

Making the football presentation extra special was the participation in it by Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones, who played for the Seminoles and led the Bainbridge High School Bearcats to the 1982 State Class AAA football championship and the Cairo High School Syrupmakers to the 1990 State Class AAA football championship.

Finally, I am blessed to have a dear friend like Billy Simmons Jr., the No. 1 BHS sports fan and an inspiration to many in Bainbridge and Decatur County, and to have a loving and supportive family like my brother, Tom, my sister-in-law, Cheryl, my nephews, Billy and Matthew, and my niece, Jennifer, and her husband, Derek, parents of my 2-year-old great nephew, Samuel Lincoln “Linc” Roberts.

Yes, I am truly blessed.