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OPINION: Thanks for a memorable five years

This is my last column as a member of the staff at The Clanton Advertiser, as my last day with the newspaper will be Jan. 21 after accepting a job with a newspaper in Palatka, Florida.

The emotions I am feeling are both sweet and sour, because although this is a great opportunity for my career, I will also deeply miss covering the people and events of Chilton County.

After you have been at a place for five years, there are so many relationships developed over that time, and it is tough when you will suddenly not have those people as a major part of your daily life anymore.

I thank all those who I have interviewed and come to know over the years, for helping provide me with memories I will never forget.

I appreciate the respect that I was shown from day one when I arrived in Chilton County as an outsider from Florida.

The people in this county are some of the best I’ve met in my life, and they are the reason Chilton County will be a place I will feel fortunate to have called home for five years.

One of the things I will miss most is covering the sports scene in the county.

My job as a staff writer gave me the opportunity to see the firsthand growth of kids who were eighth graders when I first got here and have now graduated high school and are on to bigger and better things.

There is something special about being able to watch someone develop over the years not only as an athlete, but as a person.

I believe that we each reach points in our lives where we have accomplished all we can do in our current situation and begin to look forward to the next challenge in life.

That curiosity for what lies ahead is just part of human nature and something that we will all face at some point in our lives.

Although change can be scary and a little uneasy, it is vital that we do not let it slow us down or keep us from being the best person we were meant to be.

I’m at that point in my life, and it appears Chilton County is also at that moment in time as a county, with so much positivity linked to the future.

I wish the best of luck to the county’s leadership, and I pray that whatever happens, I hope Chilton County realizes its full potential as a county, because its residents deserve it.

I’m looking forward to the day when I come back through Chilton County years from now and see the Alabama Farm Center fully built and the county as a whole having experienced successful growth in more ways than one.

No one knows what the future exactly holds, but you can be excited about the future, and I think the future is as bright as it’s ever been.