Here is the last (and only) column that I wrote for the Daily Graphic– a goodbye to all the wonderful people I met.
Rolling into Portage la Prairie last May to start my summer job as a reporter for the Portage Daily Graphic, I wasn’t sure what to expect– this was my first paying gig out of journalism school.
I’ll admit, being from Winnipeg, I wasn’t overly familiar with the community, but I was excited to learn about Portage and all it had to offer. I was also stoked to meet the people who call this place home. From covering the weekly lunches at the Portage Rotary Club to meeting new business owners like Jennifer Lamber of Memories In Time Scrapbooking, or the Aggarwal family who own the two Olina shops in town, there was a learning experience in every story I wrote.
There were also some days that the challenges of this job became personal; even though a reporter is never supposed to become emotionally involved in a story, it’s sometimes impossible. Covering this year’s historic flood that destroyed so many peoples homes and livelihoods, or speaking to Amber McFarland’s mom Lori a day after the missing woman’s 28th birthday were some of the hardest stories I’ve ever had to write. Yet, while my heart broke for these people, it also warmed to the fact that I saw a strength and resiliency that is so rare in the outside world, yet almost ‘normal’ here in Portage.
Outside of the city, in the Central Plains region, I have also been lucky to have met some awesome people, like the folks in MacGregor, who I’ve written a number of stories about this summer. I am in awe of the entire community for how much passion they have for their beloved NorMac arena. When they went up against Arborg for the Kraft Celebration Tour on July 21, I was assigned the duty of following them through their journey. It was an absolute pleasure to report that they had won the contest, and I look forward to celebrating with them on August 27 when TSN’s SportsCentre broadcasts live from MacGregor.
This is an experience is one that I will never forget. Besides being a wonderful career stepping stone, my position at the Daily Graphic has left me with so many wonderful new friends, not only in the office, but out in the community as well. Rest assured that you will see my family and I at the ninth annual Potato Festival next year, and you might bump into me at the MCC every now and again. I’ll definitely be back next strawberry season to indulge in some of the tastiest berries I’ve ever eaten, and if I’m in the city on a Tuesday afternoon, the Rotary Club can expect an extra guest for lunch.
To my colleagues at the Daily Graphic, you have all been so nice, thank you for everything. Everybody in the office keeps telling me the newsroom will be super quiet without me, I am still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing...
Portage la Prairie you have been an excellent host, I will never forget this summer. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.