― John F. Kennedy
Change can be difficult. Humans are all creatures of habit. In our lives, even a positive change can be tough.
In recent days, I’ve been challenged to embrace change.
While Walker County is where I was born and raised, I’ve been presented an opportunity that will take me away from here. Only a few days ago, I accepted a job as a newspaper publisher in a neighboring state. I can’t release full details of my move just yet, but it is an outstanding opportunity for our family.
While I’m 100 percent sure of the direction the Phillips family is supposed to travel, that doesn’t make saying goodbye to people that I care about any easier.
The bulk of our family lives in central Alabama, with a good majority of them living in Walker County. Andrea and I have never lived more than 30 miles from our parents. That number will soon increase by almost 200 miles. While we appreciate the love and support that our family has given us throughout our lives, we feel being a little farther away will only make us appreciate them more. We are also promising to visit as often as possible — they may actually see us more.
While I have no blood relatives here at the Daily Mountain Eagle, the folks here are just as close as family. In my years here, we have been through a lot together. We’ve always been there for each other, and it’s tough to leave a paper that has been such a part of my life, even back to my childhood.
While working at this newspaper, I’ve built relationships with people from across Walker County. There are people in our community that I rely on daily to provide information that leads to the stories you see on our front page. If it weren’t for cultivating relationships, I couldn’t succeed in what I do. Many of those relationships have grown from professional acquaintances to close friends.
While I can’t personally know every reader of our newspaper, I do feel like we are family sometimes as well. I hear quite often from people who enjoy reading this column. Most of the time, the positive comments come from stories about our children or the times when I really open up my heart about an issue. I’ve received countless phone calls, emails and letters through the years. Sometimes those correspondances were because a reader didn’t agree with something that I had written, but most of the time it was positive feedback. I can’t express how much it means when a reader calls to tell you they’re praying for you or that something you wrote impacted their life in a positive way. I have even had readers call to make sure that I hadn’t been fired after particularly controversial columns.
For everyone who has become a part of our lives through my time here at the Eagle, I thank you for your love and support. I thank you for making our family a part of your family. I’ll be here at the Eagle through the end of the month, and I hope to say goodbye in person to as many of you as possible. May God bless us all.
James Phillips is editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at email@example.com or 205-221-2840.