It's always been about the people for Rose
Saying goodbye has never been easy for me. On Friday, Aug. 14, I will retire from the Pratt Tribune. That is also the day I turn 70.
After 20 years and a month and a half, I'm turning in my camera, shutting off the computer, taking the note pad out of my pocket and saying goodbye to a job that has enriched my life.
For 7377 days I have been charged with telling the stories of the people of Pratt County and I will miss it.
I will miss the people most of all. This job has allowed me to meet so many people that I would never have had the chance to meet if I had been doing something else.
The hours were often long and my days were often interrupted by a blaring tone on the scanner.
I have been witness to people's best days, happiest days, average days, scariest days, worst days and sometimes last days. I have lost several friends along the way including my mother, father, brother and sister who all died in the space of four years and four days.
I witnessed amazing acts of dignity and courage as emergency responders came to the aid of those in need. There were numerous grass and structure fires, too many to list here. There were many wrecks, some with tragic loss of life. So many deer vs vehicle accidents took place, I lost count. Whether it was EMS, fire, police, sheriff, rescue, I watched as these dedicated individuals stopped what they were doing to help others, sometimes at risk to their own lives.
Much of this job is reporting on the day-to-day events in the community. There were countless meetings as local government made plans for a better community. School districts battled with budgets to provide the best possible education for the children in Pratt County.
Change has been a constant over the last 20 years. Multiple dozens of new businesses opened their doors and most succeeded. Some, like the Parrish Hotel and Pratt Regional Medical Center, underwent major renovations to better serve the community.
Some businesses fell on hard times especially in the gas and oil industry and most recently from COVID-19.
Many events had powerful impacts on the community. The Greensburg tornado in 2007, the tornadoes in Pratt County in 2002 and 2008, the ice storm in December 2007, the Labor Day flood in 2018, the snowstorm in 2009, Maple Street extension, changing U.S. 54 to four lanes, the downtown sidewalk and street beautification projects all impacted lives.
Tragic house fires on Dec. 23, 2013 that killed twin boys, and on Jan. 25, 2018 that claimed the lives of a young mother and her four very young children hit the community hard.
We have little violent crime but some lives were taken by violent acts. Some days, I had to go home and cry in the dark to deal with reality.
There were many memorable moments like getting to be in President Bushes media pool when he visited Greensburg and again a year later at Greensburg graduation. I interviewed members of Congress and the Senate, both state and national and several World War II veterans including Bob Morgan who flew the Memphis Belle. I also interviewed youngsters at the fair. I got to take a ride in a B-17 and in a powered parachute and ride in a steam locomotive.
Looking back, there have been amazing changes in the community over the past 20 years. People with vision started new businesses, new sports complexes, remodeled existing businesses, new energy facilities, new restaurants, new education facilities and the list goes on and on.
The Miss Kansas Pageant and the Pratt County Fair were always busy times at the Tribune with lots of interviews and lots and lots of photos. I've no idea how many photos I've taken but it must be in the hundreds of thousands.
Other annual events like Christmas in the Park, Community Thanksgiving dinner, Lemon Park Lights, graduation, prom, homecoming, July 4 fireworks, play productions and Community Concert series provided lots of excitement.
Through it all, it was the people of Pratt and Pratt County whose stories made this a vibrant community, and my job an interesting one.