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Thank you Chambers County

In late October, I was frustrated. I was sitting in my parents’ house in Huntsville applying for any journalism job around the country. I was a recent college graduate, but because of unforeseen circumstances, my job search had taken a long pause as my family dealt with serious health concerns.

While my other friends were either returning to school or starting their jobs, I was just trying to get a return phone call. 

I finally got a call from a paper just outside of Dallas and an email from The Valley Times-News trying to set up an interview.

My goal coming out of college was to get out of Alabama and get to a big city. As we all know, our plans don’t matter when there’s a higher power at work. 

As I drove down to Valley on roads that I didn’t even know existed, I remember thinking “where the hell am I?” I had lived in Alabama almost my entire life but had never even heard of Valley, LaFayette or Lanett. 

I got an offer from Valley and took it because I needed a job. 

Now, just under two years later, I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like without this community.

I came to Chambers County in late November, just in time to catch a Chambers Academy state championship game and Lanett’s third-round playoff game against Isabella. I didn’t know a soul in the community, but I was welcomed in like I had been in Chambers County my entire life.

I talked with head coaches Jason Allen and Clifford Story just trying to figure out the team just days before huge games. Now, I can confidently say both of those coaches will be friends for life.

In the 21 months I have been here, Chambers County has been amazing to me.

As a sports reporter, you have given me the opportunity to cover eight state championships, 10 state quarterfinals and numerous events.

I never planned to broaden my horizons from sports, but because of COVID and a need, I branched out to the news side. The community was patient with me as I learned how to work with city government and the school boards, learning everything through trial and error. 

To everyone that I have worked with in the past two years, thank you. 

Thank you to every athlete, whether we talked every time I was on the field or you just gave me a fist bump at some point during a season. Getting a chance to talk and know you has been my favorite part of the job. 

Thank you to every coach. You all have made my job incredibly enjoyable and easy. I’ve been able to get to know each of you. 

Thank you to Louis Davidson, Cookie Thomas and Suzzane Vaughn for helping me as I’ve covered the school boards and the city of LaFayette. You guys didn’t care that I was trying to figure things out on the fly and never made me feel dumb for asking a dumb question.

To The Valley Times-News, thank you for giving me my first opportunity to prove I could work in journalism. 

Because of Chambers County, I have grown as a journalist, friend and most importantly a person.

I am now onto the next step in my career as I start at a paper in Greenwood, South Carolina on Monday.

I love Chambers County and will miss all of my friends that have become part of my extended family. This place will forever hold a special place in my heart and will be following what is going on from afar. 

Coaches, you’ll hear from me again during your respective seasons. Louis and the LaFayette council, I’ll be paying attention as you work to better your city, which I know is coming.

I hope and pray that our paths will cross again.