It was 48 years ago this week that my family moved to Iowa Park and started this newspaper, the Iowa Park Leader.
I was four.
You could say I grew up in the midst of all things journalism and Iowa Park, and both are part of who I am.
In these 48 years, we as a family and staff, have been honored to serve this beautiful, quirky and proud town – what we call our hometown – through some bright and beautiful times, as well as a few dark and desperate ones. The latter is always hard, but history has a right to have honest record of those as well.
In this almost half-century, we have made, and a few times sadly, lost, life-long friends. We have been inside almost every business in town, attended close to every public meeting, and have served on councils and boards to do our part to inform and be a part of the fabric of Iowa Park. We have recorded Iowa Park’s history as it has heppened and is happening, and it makes us proud.
Like most newspapers, we’ve have had death threats – luckily, few – and we have seen people at their worst. That makes us sober and I think, pragmatic.
More often, we catch people at their best – this is what keeps us in the newsroom, and around the community. The generosity and spirit of our students; the outpouring of love, time and resources I have personally witnessed consistently in my time here when someone local or not needs a helping hand. Iowa Park has quite a heart, we are happy to report.
Both are what keep the balance, I’m just glad the good side of the scales are always heavier.
Because this is my space, I get to brag on our staff just a little.
The publisher, Dolores Hamilton, has been at the helm the entirety of our existence. As she is my mother, I have seen her during this time not only raise five extreeeemely well-behaved children, but also work the tremendously long hours required to keep a budding newspaper afloat and feed a family. I am proud of her for this. She has, in her career, done every single job in this newspaper and done them well.
Some other things most people don’t know, but I do, make me even prouder than this. When I was young, in the middle of all of this, Mom also took painting and piano lessons for herself. She planted the seed that made the Gordon Lake Walking Track project grow, and then continued to water it. I know because she made me help. I don’t know if she has ever known how much those things impacted my life.
Kevin Hamilton, editor, sports editor, photographer and another heir apparent of many hats, is always the guy in the background with a camera. But never in a creepy way. He captures the best moments Iowa Park has to offer and records them here, each week. He is, I say with great confidence, one of the best photographers in the state of Texas and has the hardware to prove it. During his time here, Kevin has covered meetings, banquets, assemblies and spent thousands of hours at sporting events covering our athletes all the way to state competition, much of that in his personal time. In addition, he is a helluva writer.
Also, he’s my brother and he didn’t pay me to say any of that. Seriously, Iowa Park, you are lucky to have him.
Last but not least is reporter and feature writer, Sherrie Williams. She is also a photographer and circulation manager. We have a small office with many jobs, and she has managed to be worth five times her weight in gold.
Sherrie has worked with us for 20 years and covers events, writes features, serves on the city council and some state boards. Over the years I regularly see her work all day at the paper, then work several evenings a week either for the newspaper, or for civic organizations to raise money to help other people. She has headed up 9/11 ceremonies, July Fourth events, and worked more Whoop-T-Do’s than anyone I know. She truly loves Iowa Park. She also has the best memory of anyone I know – it’s scary.
This week also happens to be my 33rd anniversary at the paper. For those wondering, I got a brand new iMac on my desk.
But, so did Kevin, so … I’m still working out what that means.
I also publish these columns on my blog, www.onefunnybroad.com. I encourage you to check it out.
I mention this because I was looking at my stats for the year this weekend, and I noticed that I have readers from literally all over the world.
I’m not bragging, though. It was cool because some of my most-read blogs are those about Iowa Park, which means people from around the United States and dozens of countries around the world have heard of Iowa Park, Texas.
Thank you for a fun and heartfelt 48 years with you. It is a pleasure to be a voice for our community.