As I promised, I wanted you all to hear the news from me. The Coastal Courier and Bryan County News has announced their new publisher.
I have cherished the 13 years here at the Courier. It was an unfortunate circumstance that required my swift exit from Hinesville. My dad’s fall, surgery, complications, emergency room visits and failing health required me to pick up and move at the drop of a dime. And as much as I love my job and career, I knew moving and being here for Dad and Mom was the right thing to do. For those of you who followed Dad’s trials and tribulations in my previous three columns, here is the final chapter. On Feb. 28, at 8:40 a.m. I watched Dad take his last breath as he lay in his bed. It’s what he wanted and I feel blessed that I was able to be at his side to the end.
My brother and I are tackling all the arrangements that need to be done. And now my attention turns to making sure Mom is taken care of. She is 90, but still strong despite losing her husband of nearly 70 years.
I am thankful to everyone at Morris Multimedia. They took a chance on me 13 years ago hiring me with no prior journalism experience. My early days were spent as a receptionist and then assistant to the editor. I learned about AP style format, photography, video editing, social media management, website management, investigative journalism and developed an understanding of just how vital a local newspaper is to its community.
I had great mentors: Sonya Campbell Kurth, Pat Watkins, Hollie Moore Barnidge, Jason Wermers, Denise Etheridge, Jeff Whitten and my investigative journalist friend and cohort Lewis Levine. All these folks and several more, honestly far too many to list here, taught me the trade in every capacity.
Mr. Charles H. Morris, owner of our parent company MNC of Hinesville, took another chance on me June 1, 2018, when he along with Regional Vice President Joe McGlamery and Revenue Director Lori Maxim, promoted me to the general manager position. They mentored me throughout the process. There were some turbulent times and several changes. But they always did what they could so that our staff and our community newspaper would continue to be successful.
When I mentioned that I had to leave, they allowed me to keep working, remotely, and for that I am grateful. I’m going to miss my team, which includes Cindy White, Jeff DeYoung, Elly Mattingly, Caitlin Smoyer, Eliese Bowles, Kayla Gamble, Chandra Hughes, Mark Swendra, Hollie Lewis and Abigail McGill.
In fact, I’m going to miss SO MANY people. The Liberty and Long and Bryan cpunty folks that I’ve met, either while at work or at play, all have been incredibly courteous, generous, giving, fun-loving and the epitome of the best the South has to offer. There aren’t any peeps like Coastal Georgia peeps. Y’all know how to have fun yet still rock business.
I’m going to miss looking into matters brought to my attention by people who questioned the system and wanted wrong doings exposed I’m going to miss recounting the stories of folks who freely give of themselves for the betterment of the community. I’m going to miss all the great community events done by Leah Poole at the Liberty Chamber of Commerce and HDDA events throughout downtown. Saying goodbye hurts so deeply. So, let me just say, I’ll see you all later in one way or another. If you want to keep in touch, email me at: Pattyjane65@aol.com
Leon is the former general manager of the Coastal Courier and Bryan County News.