My last day at the Valencia County News-Bulletin is Feb. 15 — tomorrow by the time you read this. It wasn’t an easy decision to turn in my resignation, but I am ready for a change. 

After nearly 10 years covering the village of Los Lunas and at least half that amount of time covering the town of Peralta as well, plus stories throughout Valencia County, I’ve gotten to know many of you and feel loyalty to this community.

Luckily, the News-Bulletin has already hired my replacement, Dana Bowley, and I am comforted to know my beat is in good hands.

Bowley has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a newsman and journalist, as well as a history with this newspaper and the New Mexico Press Association.

I’ve tried my best to serve the community as a watchdog of municipal governments and elected boards, and to reveal and/or celebrate the many gems within this county.

When I worked to produce a newspaper for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, I learned about a loyalty to community I had not experienced before. I’ve found the same thing among the communities here and have never seen so much generosity and a willingness to help one another as I have seen in Valencia County. People readily rally to help local students, veterans, people stricken by illness or tragedy, hunger or anyone in need.

From free prom dresses to college scholarships to funding cancer research to supporting small, local businesses, artists and authors, to buying Christmas presents for less fortunate children. This county has a big heart.

I’ve met so many wonderful and interesting people: historians, artists, veterans, students, parents, department directors and local business owners.

And the history — what a wealth of history in this region of New Mexico. It’s been a pleasure to learn about Vietnam war hero Daniel D. Fernandez, President Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughrider Maximiliano Luna, suffragist Adelina Otero-Warren, the Oklahoman refugees of the Great Depression who were given land purchased by the federal government in what is now Bosque Farms. The county is also rich in many family histories with ancestry dating back hundreds of years.

Reporting for the News-Bulletin has given me so many experiences and encounters I would not otherwise have had. Visiting with Rudolfo Anaya comes to mind, interviewing Bill Maher, too, in one of my first years on the job, the santeros and santeras I’ve met, authors, teachers, movers and shakers, as well as local community members.

There was an assignment where I learned about birds of prey and the woman who cares for injured raptors in Peralta. I got to get right in the cages with her and the birds. I’ll never forget that; it was awesome.

Meeting local musicians, watching them play and listening to their stories has also been one of the perks of the job. The senior center dances were fun to cover. The matanzas and street fairs, chamber awards and high school graduations. I’ve attended about 18 graduations and shared in the teens’ spirit.

I must say meeting and reporting on children with cancer has been alarming. There’s too many and none of them should have to suffer so young.

It says something about our environment; we are only as healthy as our planet and we destroy it at our own peril, especially of our young ones. They are more vulnerable because they are still growing and developing.

I’ve learned so much over the years, from my fellow reporters, the editor and the assistant editor and others in the industry. It’s the longest job I’ve ever held, but it’s time for a new chapter in my life.

I’ve got a couple of freelance jobs lined up but I’m also looking forward to taking some time off and developing new ventures.

I won’t be far. I’ve lived in Albuquerque all these years, and still will as far as I know. So, I hope to see many of you again in the near future.

Thank you all for a lovely ride. Al viaje muchachas y muchachos!

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