There's a tradition in the military called "hail and farewell"--an event that celebrates arrivals and departures at the same time as a show of continuity in a time of change. And so, I cannot possibly begin my first day as guest editor of New Milford Patch without recognizing the achievements of the editor from whom I am taking the reins.
Over the course of the past few months I have had the opportunity to work with Tracy Montgomery and get to know her. A woman of marked achievement, Tracy would rather roll up her sleeves, put on her flood boots and do the job of relaying information to the citizens of New Milford in times of great distress than talk about her own professional accomplishments.
In the short time I have known Tracy, I know this: she is passionate about New Milford, passionate about Patch, and a tremendously gifted writer who can report the news in the most balanced and fair way possible. She cared deeply about providing the residents of New Milford with a community forum through Patch and she's done a remarkable job building upon, and sustaining, that community.
Tracy built New Milford Patch up from the ground by walking door to door, meeting to meeting, event to event, and introducing everyone to a new experiment in community news. The groundwork she laid makes my job easy by comparison.
Just how much Tracy accomplished in 10 short months was evident when I covered for her as guest editor this summer. New Milford welcomed me with open arms and adopted me into the community. No matter where I went--Borough Hall, the Police Department, Mayor and Council meetings, Board of Educaton meetings--I was warmly embraced and treated with the greatest respect. I was fully aware then, as I am now, that was all thanks to the tireless efforts of Tracy Montgomery.
As I begin my first day reporting the news and events of New Milford I would like to thank everyone who has already extended their warm wishes of welcome to me. I look forward to this new adventure, though I am fully aware of the very large shoes I'm stepping into.
I would like you to know that I am always accessible, so if you have a story to share or a community event you'd like covered just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop me in Shop Rite where I can be found more often than not.
Tracy, I'm not alone in wishing you the greatest luck on your new adventure. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for trusting me with your baby--I hope I make you and the residents of New Milford proud.
Hail and farewell dear friend, and here's an old family Irish blessing I'd like to send you off with: (Yes, there's a lot of Irish beneath my Italian last name!)
"May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again
may there be many generous editors with full bottles of Irish whiskey in their drawers to pour for all us heathen writers."
Tracy, we hardly knew ye.