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Don't Be a Stranger

April 9, 2015

Don’t be a Stranger

This is an editorial I printed in the West Side Journal newspaper. It ran in the April 2, 2015, edition of the weekly newspaper in Port Allen, La.

<blockquote>

<div>My family started a business in 1994. I was a mere 9-years-old, but I remember my father explaining that he was getting out of the Air Force that had stationed us in the Biloxi/Gulfport, Mississippi area just two years earlier, and was going to start a carpet cleaning business.</div>

<div>I’m pretty sure that same tenacity and hard work that my father showed by starting and maintaining that business that remains a way of life for he and my mother, was instilled in me.</div>

<div>As a 9-year-old, I worked with my dad (There are some child labor laws about that, right?). I continued to work with him until I graduated high school and went to junior college - and even then I would come home on weekends and work with him.</div>

<div>Of course I had other jobs, too, as I began my journalism career at the Sun Herald newspaper in Biloxi after graduating high school.</div>

<div>I was a member of the football team at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which was a full-time job on its own, as well as was being a 3.8 student.</div>

<div>Then came academic scholarships to attend LSU for journalism. While at LSU, I held down up to three jobs at a time all while being a full-time student. I worked as a Residential Assistant, a photographer for the LSU Reveille, an intern at The Advocate and a drummer at a couple of local churches. The GPA dropped a little bit, but I remained an above average student.</div>

<div>Once I graduated from LSU, I accepted the job as editor at the West Side Journal.</div>

<div>That was a little more than seven years ago.</div>

<div>Many of you have reached out to me in the past week after reading my editorial announcing my resignation as editor of the Journal - and your kindness means more to me than I can express in words.</div>

<div>As mentioned in last week’s editorial, this position has meant so much to me the past seven years. It’s been my life. And you all have been my family.</div>

<div>So to know that a few of you speak well of me even when I’m not in the room makes my heart happy.</div>

<div>Everyone whom I’ve discussed my departure with has asked me what I’ll be doing with my time. Well, I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before. Something many have thought to do, but have not done because circumstances haven’t been right.</div>

<div>I’m taking a little break.</div>

<div>Yeah yeah, I know. I’m only 29, but as I noted earlier, I’ve been working since I was 9-years-old. As an unmarried man with no children, I’m going to try to do a little traveling; create some adventures.</div>

<div>But this - the West Side Journal and West Baton Rouge Parish - will always be the place I will call my adoptive home.</div>

<div>I thank each of you for all of your kindness and your generosity.</div>

<div>I’ll still be around the area, and I don’t plan on being a stranger. And I pray that you, as well, will be no stranger toward me.</div></blockquote>

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