I remember the day I moved to this area.
It was in late October or early November 1996. It was brutally cold and snow was flying around in the air. I’d been to Corbin only one other time in my life — about two weeks prior for a job interview.
I had almost nothing.
I’d recently graduated from UK. I had a bed and a desk, a couple small hand-me-down bookcases, an uncomfortable wicker chair, a small TV that I had to set on a laundry basket, and a kitchen table. My apartment looked pretty sparse! My vehicle — a gray, 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that my grandmother gave me. I was definitely not going to impress the ladies with my wheels.
To beat it all, I didn’t know a single person in this area. I was totally alone.
Quite frankly, that was a pretty scary feeling.
At the same time, it was oddly exhilarating. I had a blank canvas before me. It was time to start painting.
Fast forward to today, nearly 24 years later. I’m starting to get those old feelings again.
This will be the final time I write anything as a full-time employee of this newspaper. My last day will be Friday. It’s funny that the first thing that comes to mind at the end my time at the News Journal is how it all began. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve been a reporter, photographer, sports editor, news editor and publisher. I’ve been a delivery driver and waterboy. Rack mechanic and critter catcher.
The News Journal has provided me with so much over the years. I can’t even count the blessings they are so numerous. As a direct result of working at this newspaper I bought my first car and my first home, met and married my wife, am a father to a daughter (Rachel), and made many good friends.
Leaving is not easy. I’m going to miss it terribly. My co-workers are like family.
The newspaper profession is all I’ve known for the past 24 years. I’m proud of the work I’ve done for the News Journal, but in recent years, I’ve felt the urge to explore other avenues. I enrolled at the University of the Cumberlands in January and am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Information Systems Security through the school’s IT Program. It’s been a ton of work, but I really like it. I plan to keep going along that path. Also, some other opportunities have arisen that are very intriguing. The safe thing would be to stay where I am, in the comfortable environment I know. But the possibilities are beckoning. They are like mountains far off in the landscape, waiting to be explored. If I never take the journey to get there, I’ll never know what I might have missed.
I think there comes a point in life where you start to realize, if you don’t take the leap soon, you probably never will.
That point, for me, is now.
I want to thank the ownership of this newspaper, Forcht Group of Kentucky, its founder Terry E. Forcht, and Don Estep for all the support over the years. I have nothing but gratitude for everyone I’ve worked for and with. All the staff at the News Journal — Linda Carpenter, Jennifer Benfield, Mark White, Dean Manning, Trevor Sherman, Melissa Hudson, Teresa Brooks and Joyce Morgan — are some of the best people I’ve ever known. They are true professionals and we are lucky to have a community newspaper with such talented and dedicated employees.
All I ask is that you support local newspapers. Subscribe to them. Advertise in them. Read them. Good communities and strong newspapers go hand in hand. I’ve reached the end. This portion of my life is over. A new adventure begins. I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen, but what the heck! Time to take some chances. The future’s never certain, but you know what they say — “No matter where you go, there you are.”