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The Toughest Column To Write

August 28, 2018
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

In every journalists' career, there comes a time when they have to report on or write about something that is very difficult for them, because it is personal. In my career, I've had to do that twice in one year, the writing the obituaries of my parents. To be completely honest, those were two hardest pieces I ever had to write until now.

To cut to the chase, I am leaving the newspaper tomorrow, Aug. 29. After nearly 30 years working with the Ogden Newspapers, and more specifically 26 years and some months here in Emmetsburg, I've accepted a position with Palo Alto County Health Systems, so I won't be disappearing off the face of the earth.

I will tell you this was an incredibly difficult decision to make after all, when you've lived a career for nearly half of your life, it becomes part of you. In my two stints here in Emmetsburg, 1986-1987 and 1991 to now, the people that I have worked with day after day have become a second family to me. I've worked under three publishers in that time and each one taught me a lot about people. Not to give away any ages, but two other people have been here all along, Jane Whitmore and Linda Hill, along with current publisher Dan McCain. Even though Jane retired two years ago, she's still in the picture, thankfully, and helped out this past June and July when I was laid up for several weeks.

Along the way, there have been so many great people I've worked with here at the newspaper, that I can't begin to name them and thank them for their friendship individually. Sadly, many of them are no longer with us, but their memories are something I will keep with me.

I can say the same thing about coaches and educators in our county schools whom have been so helpful, supportive and cooperative over the years as I've tried to cover the student athletes of our county and their successes. There have been so many great memories: Having all county schools qualify for post-season football playoffs one Fall; State Championships in Football, a State Baseball Championship, State Wrestling Championships, State Softball tournaments, State Cross Country appearances, State Volleyball appearances, State Track and Field and you get the idea. Being able to share in the accomplishments of countless young people over these years has been so rewarding.

Now, I'm seeing the children of kids I covered back in the early 90's working their way through the ranks of teams, and I realize that I'm not that 30-something year old guy I was when I first came to Emmetsburg in 1986.

And not to be forgotten, the school secretaries are the best of the best! A somewhat frantic phone call for a name, or to reach a coach has never fazed those ladies over the years. To let you in on a very closely guarded secret, the secretaries are the ones who keep the schools going I dare anyone to prove otherwise. Ladies, to all of you, my undying gratitude for all your help over the years!

And then there is this county and communities. The countless people I've come to know and friendships that have been made are priceless. Being born and raised in Palo Alto County was a tremendous benefit to me in my journalism career, as I knew people and knew the county.

I've been singled out for recognitions over time, and to be honest, I've never really liked being the one in the spotlight or in front of the camera. I've been most comfortable behind the camera, chronicling the lives and the history of our little corner of the world, and there are so many memories more good than not, opportunities I never would have had if I hadn't been here at the newspapers.

I mentioned earlier that my fellow employees at the newspaper over the years have been like a second family to me and the fourth hardest thing I will have to do is to walk out the door of this office Wednesday for the last time as a journalist. I'm afraid there might be a lump in the throat, and I'll miss my co-workers more than they know.

So, now is the time to bring this to a close. I could use the standard journalism - 30 -, for the end of the story, but I'd rather leave this way Thank you all, God Bless you all and I'll see you around.



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