It feels kind of crazy that last week was my three-year anniversary as a staff writer for the Banner Graphic. I told someone recently that it has seemed like a whole lifetime.
During this time, I have made connections with some of the movers and shakers here in Greencastle, as well as in our other communities in Putnam County. Being a local reporter has afforded me many amazing opportunities which others might not have.
They might be the "perks" of the job, but I have never taken any of them for granted.
I have been reflecting on what it takes to be dedicated to this job and to have my work mean something. In the same vein, I've questioned where I want to be going forward.
The important part is investing in yourself. For me, this is giving all that I can to each story. I will spend eight hours covering extrication training. I will go up in that Ford Tri-Motor. I will drive to Franklin to cover Joe Buser and FILM 765. I will go see a historic church converted into a home. I will go be part of a new leadership academy.
These are only a few of those amazing opportunities I've had in the past three years.
None of these stories happen without me being there. However, they are not possible in the first place without the people. I think it's important to figure out that it doesn't have to be professional all the time. This is how I keep going as a community member.
Maybe the best example is the rapport I've developed with the Greencastle firefighters. I still regard the firehouse as a kind of closed space where I haven't earned the right to come and go as I please. That notion, however, has been breaking down. They have never turned me away after I have found them relaxing a little bit behind the station.
"After being out there for eight hours, I think that you've earned it," I remember one of them telling me last Saturday. If you ask me, that's what my job is all about in the end.
The same goes for my connections with teachers and administrators at North Putnam, South Putnam and Cloverdale, as well as the town councils I cover. I can't do my job without having their trust and support, or without their willingness to reach out to me.
All I can do now is be honest and try to do right by others. This is still #SmallTownPR.
The crux to all this is that I grew up here. I am truly local. Many here know my mom and dad for what they have given to the Greencastle community specifically. However, I set out in this gig to grow into my own, both as a professional and as an individual. Being a Banner reporter is about the big picture and about always remaining engaged.
I am wanting more to learn by example; and by doing so I can become a better leader and listener. It is because of all of the challenges that I can't be leaving anytime soon.