Life has a funny way of handing you opportunities when you either least expect them or you weren’t looking for them. Now, as I look back on my first 365 days as publisher of the Times Leader Media Group, I’m ever so thankful this opportunity came along.
The people of the area — Wilkes-Barre in particular — have proved day after day to be the friendliest I’ve met during my 49-year career. I’ve lived in smaller towns and larger cities, but nowhere have I been more impressed with the people than here.
There is a genuine courtesy and caring for each other that can’t help but make an outsider feel like it’s home. It took less than 48 hours in my new role before I received invites to dinners, breakfasts, meetings, you name it. I call many of the folks involved friends, and our conversations sound as if we’ve known each other for years. Whether you’re walking into a restaurant, stopping to get a cup of coffee or filling up your gas tank, people say hello and smile.
I marvel too at how dedicated people are to preserving their way of life. This is a very proud group of people who understand values. I’ve been fortunate to participate in numerous business activities, and with every event I watch people work for what they believe in. They don’t rest on what the area was; instead, they look forward and strive every day to improve life for themselves and others.
Finally, there’s the tremendous group of people I call my Times Leader family. Every day I watch, listen and realize how much these people care. They don’t just do what they do because it’s a job — they genuinely care about the readers. There isn’t an employee here who doesn’t work hard constantly to improve his or her craft, regardless of the task.
I realize too that compared to many people in all walks of life, these folks are proud to say they work for the Times Leader. I know I’m proud, and I’m not afraid to tell people that.
Steeped in tradition, our newspapers, despite the challenges in our industry, provide the best local coverage to all the communities we serve. We truly are local — just look at the people working here. Many were born and raised in the area. Families proudly display their names on local business fronts, and they won’t be leaving any time soon. Many came here to attend college. They graduated. Some got married. Some started businesses. Whatever they chose, they chose to stay here to do it.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is an area in which all of us — new to the region or not — should be proud to call home. It’s been a tremendous first year, and I look forward to many more.