One year ago

Published 6:39 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

The first time I stepped foot into The Post-Searchlight’s building downtown was one year ago yesterday.

Although I had to double check my calendar because the last 12 months seemed more like three months, I have been in my role as publisher of The Post-Searchlight for one year.

More importantly, my family and I have been residents of Bainbridge and Decatur County for one year. And if this first year is any indication of all the years we have left here, we have a lot in store for us.

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Sitting in my office in Ahoskie, N.C., early last May, I received a call from my boss, Todd Carpenter, telling me that Sam and Mary Ann Griffin were about to retire and our company, Boone Newspapers, had a deal to acquire the newspaper. It took me all of about five seconds to accept his offer to relocate to Bainbridge to join The Post-Searchlight. Since being here, I have never had second thoughts.

We acquired a solid, top-notch community newspaper and printing operation from Sam and Mary Ann. The foundation that was laid in the many years that Sam, and his father and grandfather preceding him, owned and published the newspaper makes my job much easier today.

I have made mistakes in the past year, and I will make mistakes in every year upcoming. I am not afraid to face that fact. But my goal in every decision made at The Post-Searchlight is to serve our readers and customers. Many of you have let me know about some of those mistakes, I appreciate that. I welcome input and will always take a telephone call or a visit to my office from our readers and customers.

Oh, much has happened in the last year.

Some change I expected, some I did not.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,460 one year ago. Yesterday, it closed at right around 8,500. Our economy has suffered through a rough stretch that I hope and expect is behind us. I don’t know of anyone that has ever experienced an economic environment that we have lived through over the past year. Hopefully, we never see it again.

In the past year, the first African-American was elected to the presidency of the United States.

In the past year, the Kirbo Center at Bainbridge College opened after several years of turmoil, planning, more turmoil and more planning. Congratulations, Tom Wilkerson for getting that finished. It’s a shining jewel for our community.

In the past year, the finishing touches were put on another jewel, the new Bainbridge High School. What a great testament to the foresight and planning to the folks that run our school system.

Many visitors, from all over the country, have visited our plant and operation since June of last year. I never let one leave without riding out and showing them the new school, just to make them jealous that their high school is nothing like ours. And it worked every time.

In the past year, I experienced my first Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve in Willis Park. What a great community tradition. Thanks Sam and Dr. Ed Mobley. I look forward to many more.

In the past year, I had the honor for the first time of awarding the Montford Lynn award to the late Robert Griffin as the Peace Officer of the Year. What an awesome responsibility and honor.

In the past year, I have made many new friends and acquaintances and gotten to better know a great staff here at the newspaper. There is no better group of people around.

In the past year, I have come to realize that Bainbridge and Decatur County is where my family and I like to call home. Thank you for letting me and my family become part of such a great community.