I’ll just jump right into it.
There’s no point in beating around the bush, as it were.
This is my last paper with the Goldstream News Gazette.
Oh, stop that.
There’s no need for tears.
Okay, go ahead. I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself before continuing.
Are you okay, now? All right, I’ll carry on.
In all seriousness, though, while I am under no delusion that news of my departure is enough to bring anyone to tears, I do feel as though I had some impact on my surroundings during the short time I was here, just as I know that the community has had an impact on me, as well.
I’d like to think I shared some stories of interest to the community over the past six months or so that may have gone untold otherwise.
Like the story of the kids at Pearson College who built a voyageur canoe by hand with a math teacher who had never done it before, either, and then learned about seamanship and sailed their creation around the South Islands.
Or the story of Tyson King, a 20-year veteran of the Canadian military, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and his dog, Cully, who helps him cope with that condition.
Or the story of Mark Hynes, who will be heading off any day now to Ontario to represent Canada in pistol shooting, vying for a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics (good luck, Mark!).
I very much enjoyed getting the word out about various causes the community should be proud of contributing to, as well.
I have loved – as I always do – seeing people come together to help each other.
There was the Langford Re-Store’s efforts to raise funds for Habitat For Humanity, for example, and Canada Comforts, a non-profit organization whose volunteers gather once a week in the basement of the Seniors’ Centre beside the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre in Colwood to make care packages for children in developing countries around the globe.
I’ve also enjoyed – believe it or not – attending meetings of city council and various committees and then sharing what’s happening at City Hall in terms of policy decisions, bylaw amendments and watching the community’s engagement in the public process.
I don’t know much about this new reporter coming on in my place, other than her name is Katherine Engqvist, she’s an honours graduate of Ryerson University’s Bachelor of Journalism program – widely recognized as being one of the best in the country – and she’s keen to become a part of the team here at the Gazette.
I’m confident she’ll continue to engage the community with what’s happening within it and around it, as I have strived to do.
Speaking of the team here at the Gazette, I’d like to give my most sincere thanks to editor Don Descoteau for his tireless efforts and to Arnold Lim, who never ceases to amaze me with the photographs he submits with his stories.
The West Shore community is lucky to have two such participants in this endeavour we call “community journalism.”
As for me, I’ll be just up the highway in Campbell River, as I take on a similar role with the Campbell River Mirror, and I will check back in periodically to see what’s happening here, likely getting my news of the community from goldstreamgazette.com.
I’ve come to care about these communities I’ve been covering – as all journalists should, in my opinion – and I’m eager to see what they become as they move forward into the future, despite not being here to cover it myself.
Thanks for having me.