A bittersweet day
A s I write this column, on Thursday, Dec. 30, itís a bittersweet day for me professionally and personally.
Earlier today, Samantha Jones left our office in Berryville for the final time. Sam is leaving for an exciting opportunity, and Iím happy for her, but I feel a little lost already.
I hired Sam in 2014, about a month after I arrived here as general manager. During our initial phone conversation and our face-to-face interview, I could sense her abundant and positive energy, and that never changed in more than seven years here.
I watched Sam grow from an entry-level reporter to a veteran journalist. She learned quickly, and she rarely if ever made the same mistake twice. Sam was always open to constructive feedback on her work and always kept that feedback in mind. I truly believe she realized every bit of the potential she had here, but I also know that she still has the potential for much more. Sam has a bright future and I take comfort in that and the fact that weíll always be friends and Iíll be able to watch her shine.
I told someone that I would rather cut off my right arm than have Sam stop working for us, and it isnít much of an exaggeration. I came to depend on her for so many things ó some of them small, some of them big, but all of them important to what we do. If I asked Sam to do something, I always knew it would be handled and handled well.
After she was promoted to associate editor in 2016, Samís biggest responsibility was the Lovely County Citizen. She covered countless meetings and events in Eureka Springs and became well-known throughout the community. She also made decisions about news coverage and how the paper would be laid out each week. She excelled at every aspect of the job, just like I knew she would. Later, she became editor for our special publications like the Eureka Springs Visitor and Currents magazine. I never had to worry about a missed deadline or quality of a publication with Sam in charge. She handled it all and made it look easy.
On a personal note, Sam became one of my best friends. Itís a friendship based on mutual trust, sincerity and admiration and it means a great deal to me that even though we donít work together anymore, we will always be good friends.
As I said during our little gathering here to celebrate Sam, I remember her first couple of weeks here. She was so excited and so full of energy that she called a local official on the phone and started firing questions without identifying herself.
ďTell them who you are,Ē I reminded her.
Itís safe to say now, more than seven years later, that she showed us all exactly who she is.
Thank you, Sam, for everything. We all wish you the best of luck and I look forward to seeing you at lunch very soon.