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To all, thanks for a great ride
Pat Donahue
Pat Donahue

Just because you know this day is coming doesn’t make it any easier.

Just because you know what you want to say doesn’t make it any easier.

On Aug. 15, I will start as the editor of the Thomasville Times-Enterprise, a six-day-a-week paper in a part of the state with which I am largely unfamiliar. Since I met with those folks and had a feeling they liked what I had to say, I’ve been thinking about the end of my tenure at the Effingham Herald.

More than nine-and-a-half years ago, I left what was close to a dream job in Chattanooga. I was working for a good friend who had tried for three years to find the right spot for me on his staff. One day as we were on the golf course, I got a call. I decided to meet with Karen Tanksley and Joe McGlamery out of respect for them.

A couple of weeks later, I was here. I wondered then if I was making the right move. All this time later, I believe it was.

It has been a tremendous amount of work since I got here, especially the last 15 months. It hasn’t been perfect, but we — and I say we for all the people I was fortunate enough to work with and who were crazy enough to put up with me — honestly tried to do as much as we could and as well as we could.

There are a multitude of people to thank for all their kindness and assistance over the years, both inside and outside the office. I’ve tried to tell as many people in person as I can, but I can’t reach everyone I wish to tell.

I know I’ll leave some people out, but that’s only because of time and space. I can’t say enough about Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, who is not just a good lawman but a good man, period. His fine staff, from Chief Richard Bush to Pete Hossalla to Brian Mundy to Don White and Joe Heath and to former ECSO folks such as David Ehsanipoor, has been a true treasure to work with and know.

I have the utmost respect for Jon Burns, Bill Hitchens and Jack Hill, three upstanding and outstanding gentlemen. Effingham is lucky to have them serving under the Gold Dome. I also cannot thank Ann Purcell enough for all she’s done and how gracious she’s been with me. And when I grow up, I want to be Herb Jones.

I’ve worked with some terrific educators and people — Franklin Goldwire, Yancy Ford, Mark Winters — and a host of great coaches who have endured my questions, Donnie Revell, Buddy Holder, Brett Griffin, Ron Womack, Matt Huntley, Chuck Smith, Tom Onorato, Nico Guggino, Stacey Womack, Missy Roddenberry, Jake Darling, et al. Being in the gyms and the dugouts and running up and down the sidelines on Friday nights has been one of the highlights of this experience for me.

I also am grateful for the help and patience of Randy Shearouse and Lamar Allen, who I can’t wait to see get out of the hospital.

So many others — Beth Epling, Carrie Thompson, John Henry, Chap Bennett, Ken Lee, Brett Bennett, Toss Allen, Allen Lanier, Clarence Morgan, Joe Tallent, Butch Kieffer — have been a big help to me along the way. I have to tip my hat to the fine folks at Quality Auto Service and Smithey’s for fetching and fixing my various rides over the years.

I was lucky to have some folks work for me who became good friends after they left — that means you, Rick Lott — and others who were friends before and became even better friends afterward — and that means you, Paul Floeckher, upon whom I have leaned very heavily the last few weeks on a number of issues.

I absolutely could not have done this in the beginning of my tenure without Brittany McNair and Sandi Van Orden, two of the hardest-working and most dedicated people I have ever known.

I have to thank some wonderful ladies who have taken great care of me over the years — Karen Stephens, Karen Tanksley and Debbie Neidlinger. I can never thank them enough for looking after me as well as they have.

Nine-and-a-half years. Some days, it feels like I just got here. And now it’s at the end. All I can really say at this point is thanks — thanks for putting up with me and thanks for sticking with me.