I knew this time was going to come sooner or later, though it is always the hardest part of my job.
My time at the Bashaw Star is coming to an end as I will be moving on to a new challenging position with a company in Saskatchewan.
Which means I have to do the toughest thing a reporter has to do — say goodbye.
That is especially difficult this time around since it has been an absolute pleasure to have been accepted into the community — even though I didn’t live there — and that I was able to foster many friendships that I will cherish and carry forward for the rest of my life.
It has been a very interesting almost five years covering pretty much every aspect of life in, what was a bit of a surprise for me, a small though active and engaged town.
First off, I’d like to thank all of the town councillors and the mayor for the pleasure of allowing some very frank coverage at times, while also managing to remain friendly and speak very openly about the topics at hand. As well, I’m glad that they got to trust me enough to speak what was really on their minds and didn’t worry about whether I was there or not.
As well, I can’t forget to thank any of the town staff for their candor, help and for always being willing to speak to me.
That reminds me though, while I won’t name the councillor, I want to publicly thank one in particular for loaning me a vehicle to drive back to Ponoka one night after council after I needed to retrieve my second set of keys — as the other set was sitting inside my locked vehicle while I went to shoot some local baseball.
More thanks go out to the staff at Bashaw School, who have been instrumental in ensuring that the newspaper had coverage of as many events and activities as it could fit in.
I can honestly say that I’ve never had so much fun chatting with so many people — whether it was a concert, sports or some other random event. In fact, if it wasn’t for their accommodating nature in recent times, there would have been far less Rebels coverage.
I would also be very remiss if I failed to recognize the hard work and help that the various members of the Bashaw RCMP detachment — but especially Sgt. Bruce Holliday — provided that allowed me to do a great job of informing the public about crimes, prevention methods and safety. That, and Bruce makes a mean grilled hamburger.
There are also more than a few groups I am going to miss going to see and speak to.
One is the wonderful people at the Bashaw Art Club, who have always welcomed me with open arms at any event and showed what small town spirit really should be.
Another is the Bashaw Agricultural Society, a very dedicated and small group that do a tremendous job at maintaining the grounds and making sure a number of large events come off without a hitch.
Minor sports — hockey, ball, soccer — were also wonderful to deal with and were happy to have me show up whenever I was able. The bonus to that was I could usually get some excellent photos to help fill up a page, even if the quotes weren’t always there.
Meanwhile, I know for a fact this job would not have been as fun without the theatrical productions put on by the various groups and people. It was always a blast for me to write a preview story and learn all about what made that particular play or musical unique. It also helped that no one chided me for the sounds and movements I made to take those literally thousands of photos during the shows.
And I can’t forget the members, as well as some former members, of the Bashaw Fire Department. Not only have they kept me updated on fire and other incidents, sent me photos and been willing to do what they could for the paper, they have graciously allowed me on occasion to join them at practice and helped keep my own skills sharp when I had no where else to train.
Then there is Cindy Hunter at the library, Rural Crime Watch, BDSS, the farmer’s market, the Legion, Bashaw Meadows and the golf courses along with a number of other businesses and people that I don’t have room to mention specifically.
I want to thank every one of you — residents of Bashaw and those from the surrounding area that I was privileged to write about — for being so kind with your words (mostly, lol) and generous with your thoughts and actions.
It certainly never went unnoticed and it was always appreciated. I always said that living in Bashaw would have been a great idea for my family if things had worked out. Too bad it didn’t.
I am glad to have experienced Bashaw as part of my life and I know I’ll be better for it.
Take care of the town and I hope it continues to grow, prosper and breed greater success for everyone.
And that is…my last observation.