I honestly had settled in and was planning on staying here for several years as the Progress editor.
But another editor at the Refugio County Press, a newspaper also owned by Bee Publishing, resigned to take a job with Refugio County.
I was asked by my publishers, Jeff and Chip Latcham, if I wanted to assume those duties in Refugio County because I had lived there for so many years. And I said I would.
I have a home in Refugio County that I’ve had for 39 years. And my wife, Julia, and I love that place, – it’s where we raised our daughter, Chelsey.
I talked with Julia about this proposition, and she agreed that, for family and friends, the move was a good one.
I have mixed feelings, however. The decision is bittersweet because I have met so many wonderful people in Live Oak and McMullen counties, and I am finding it hard to leave them.
You opened your arms to me when I first came here back in April.
I couldn’t name all who have welcomed me and made me feel like one of the community because there are too many of you.
I will mention that law enforcement have done a difficult job in the counties with the onslaught of the oil boom. And often times, they are taken for granted.
We are fortunate to have Live Oak County Sheriff Larry Busby, George West Police Chief Ray Garcia Jr. and Three Rivers Police Chief Vance Roberts. And now, McMullen County Sheriff Bubba Shelton joins this great force to keep our communities safe. I thank them and admire them for their work and for their willingness to help me inform the community.
Also, the volunteer fire departments have worked hard this past year – a year of drought and numerous fires and accidents. These fire department volunteers are invaluable and should be thanked frequently.
I also thank Three Rivers Mayor James Liska, Live Oak County Judge Jim Huff, George West Mayor Sylvia Steele, George West City Manager Sandra Martinez and McMullen County Judge Jim Teal for their patience and help.
One very community-minded person who needs to be named is Murrell Foster with the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce. He always had an idea for a story when I needed one.
And I won’t forget the super helpful school superintendents: Ty Sparks in George West, Kenneth Rohrbach in Three Rivers and Dave Underwood in Tilden.
Some special people I was humbled to meet included Bill and Beverly Meider, John and Leslie Walker, Perry Kerr, Kurt House, Charles and Nancy Hundley, Virginia Herring, Ressa Kelley, Kenneth Watson, Charlie and Pat Sims, Kevin Mackey, Dave Darling, Rita Arnst, Dianne Kuenstler, and Sally Rodriguez.
But these are only a few of the fine residents in the area I’ve met. I wish I could name all of you, but I don’t have the space here to do it.
As I said, I have been blessed in Live Oak and McMullen counties to have met so many fine people.
You have made me feel at home and a member of the community, and I am eternally grateful.
I know Brush Country has a lot of history. That history is interesting, even compelling and riveting. This history should be published. That was my goal here.
Now, I feel like some powerful guiding force has directed me back to Refugio County and to my home in Bayside there.
Novelist Thomas C. Wolfe wrote “You can’t go home again.” I understand what that means: When you leave home, it doesn’t stay the same.
I don’t expect everything to be the same when I return to Refugio County, and that is a good thing because I will experience new things.
In the meantime, I will be at the Progress for two or more weeks during the transition. If you are in Three Rivers, drop by the office.
Farewell, and God bless all of you.