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Oliver: Departure brings gratitude, sweet sorrow

When I started at the Northwest Herald in June 1990, I had no idea how long I would stay.

After all, it was the day I turned 22, and I had just graduated from the Medill School of Journalism.

If I’m honest, I didn’t have a clue about the many things about a newsroom that I would learn.

And as I leave the Northwest Herald, more than 23 years later, I’m sure there are a few things I still don’t know.

I spent more than 17 years working the night shift – first as a copy editor, then as the front page editor, then the presentation editor and finally the night news editor.

My years on the copy desk are measured out in momentous events – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 9/11, natural disasters, Chicago Bulls championships, the White Sox World Series victory, the deaths of a pope and a princess. And myriad local events that touched us here in McHenry County even more.

This column began more than five years ago when I became a community editor. I was “repurposed,” as I wrote in that introductory column about the shift to working days.

I find it hard to believe that after more than 200 columns, I have to find a way to say goodbye.

Over the years I’ve met and talked to so many wonderful people. That’s not surprising, since I’ve always said McHenry County is a great place to live and work.

It was, is and will continue to be my home. And the Northwest Herald will always be my hometown paper.

I am thankful for the many people who continue to make McHenry County what it is. In my own small way, I hope that I contributed, too.

My life is richer for having been invited into county classrooms to teach and to read to our area students.

Many thanks to District 200 for allowing me to repeatedly participate in Love to Read Week. And I especially want to mention Westwood Elementary teacher Kristen Sauber, whose students even turned me into a superhero for a class project.

I will remain a huge fan of our area libraries, social service agencies such as Turning Point and fundraising events such as the Mini-Links Golf Outing at the Woodstock Public Library and Gallery in the Garden. We are lucky to have such dedicated do-gooders in our midst.

To the dear ladies who liked to chat about my columns, please know that I will miss you and appreciated your calls more than you can know.

Most of all, I’d like to thank you readers. I have often worn my heart on my sleeve. Thank you for treating it gently.

Change, they say, is good. I’ll say that it isn’t so much the change, but how we deal with it that determines whether it is good or bad.

And so I will try to embrace the future and eagerly await what lies ahead.

Yet as I look back, I know I will always treasure my time here.

It was such an honor and a privilege to have served you all these years.

• Joan Oliver was the assistant news editor for the Northwest Herald. She has been transferred to other Shaw Media publications. However, she still can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by email at joliver@shawmedia.com.

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