We should all be thankful

When it comes to Thanksgiving week, a lot of people go through their lives and post on Facebook what they are thankful for.

We are thankful for the people who volunteer to be on city councils and school boards.These folks do a lot of work; they put together budgets, give up their evenings to meet with people, take calls from distressed constituents.

We are thankful to the many people who volunteer with non-profit organizations. Think of all these special programs around Hays County – from education foundations to the food bank, from CASA to the pet shelter. If there is a need, there is an organization, and each organization has volunteers putting in hours and hours to make Hays County a better place.

But what am I so thankful for? Besides my family and friends, I would have to say that we should ALL be thankful that there is such a great staff at the Hays Free Press and the News-Dispatch.

Newspaper employees don’t make a lot of money, simply because so many businesses and governmental entities don’t advertise anymore. This staff puts out a newspaper every week, keeps the website constantly loaded with breaking news, runs out to take photos, designs advertisements and flyers, makes sure that newspapers are delivered to individual homes, makes sure businesses are represented in our pages.

So, here a list of people in this office and why I am thankful.

David White has been on the staff for more than 25 years. He has risen through the ranks, starting as a photographer, then writing, then designing. While his title has been production chief for a long time, he basically is the assistant publisher, making sure that our readers get a top-notch product all the time. I have never had to worry about a single edition of the newspaper going out the door. David has always been there, and so I say, “Thank you.”

Moses Leos III is now our sports editor, after being editor in chief for a while. He was hired away by Hays CISD (they know what an incredible photographer he is) to do videography and photography for the school district. But, we wanted to keep him on staff and convinced him and the district that he is such a great sports writer that we could not give him up. So, thanks for joining us years ago and now for keeping the sports fans happy.

Onward to Tracy Mack, our advertising and marketing director. No matter what kind of project we have thrown at Tracy, she steps up and sells it. She has taken on some very tough projects and always excels. A Texas Tech grad, Tracy proudly displaced her Tech signs in the office. We are so happy that she moved to the area and that she is such a tough seller.

Jim Darby came to us from the coastal area and has taken up the call for Kyle. A member of the Kyle Chamber ambassador group, Jim is known by businesses throughout Kyle, Buda and Dripping Springs. He is quiet, but comes into the office to book his ads and make sure his clients are satisfied. He is definitely someone that every local business should get to know.

Move on to that sweet voice you hear on our phones. Verna Wommack runs the front desk with humor, and we can tell you that humor is needed with some of the bizarre phone calls this office gets. She makes sure your classifieds are correct and your address is perfect before sending the labels to the printers. A big thanks to her.

Jane Kirkham. She’s our proofer who is volunteer extraordinaire for Kyle. Do you know she runs the Kyle Cemetery, sits on the depot board and also works with the Kyle Library Thrift store – all for free? She was always the person in the turkey suit for the Hays County food bank, and she delivers meals on wheels. Jane comes in every Tuesday and works tirelessly to proof every ad and every story in the newspaper. We can’t say thanks enough to Jane.

Anita Miller took over for Moses when he was hired away. The former San Marcos Record editor, Anita brings passion and a work ethic to the staff that everyone should enjoy. She is out and about in the community, taking photos, talking to people. Thanks to Anita for coming out a retirement (she couldn’t sit still at home!) and helping us out.

Elizabeth Garcia – she’s our Lehman High graduate who is working on our website and design. At first, you think she’s very shy, but she has a twinkle in her eye, and has a passion for social media and the website. She comes in and makes sure all the stories are online perfectly. We love having this Lobo in our office.

Thanks to our hard-working Texas State student Camelia Juarez. This girl knows how to write and is tackling some very large stories. A breeze to work with, Camelia has a quick smile that everyone loves. But my advice is to be nice to her. She is a hard-working journalist who questions everything. We know that – she questions all of us. And that is the sign of a great journalist.

And when you need a belly laugh, don’t forget the ever-creative columnist Clint Younts. He puts a wonderful twist on both local and national politics. As a local vet assistant and a rancher, he sees things differently, and we are thankful that he can give us a bit of advice, even if at times we shake our head and wonder.

To Phil Jones, thanks for being our Christian liberal who brings both sides of any issue together. You always have a way of saying things that is full of love, and need more of that every day.

Finally, to our circulation delivery folks. While they don’t always want to be named, let me just say that we could not do without Patsy, John, Kim and CJ. They come in, pick up the newspapers and get them to the post office and racks quickly. Thanks.

So, there you have the most wonderful staff. They make sure that you get your newspaper each and every week. I just want everyone to know that I appreciate them, and I hope you will say “Thanks” to them, the next time you see a staff member.

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