Recent goodbyes were tough but not the end

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Itís never easy saying goodbye, and here at the Standard Democrat we have been saying goodbye quite a bit.

At the end of May we said goodbye to our publisher, Mike Jensen. After 48 years, Mike, whose words routinely filled this space I am occupying right now, left the Standard. And Friday, our general manager, Don Culbertson, entered retirement after over 40 years in the newspaper business.

They are two different men who brought two different sets of skill to the newspaper business. Mike brought a journalistís grit and knew the ins and outs of writing a story. Outgoing in the community, he has served on numerous city and community committees, helped host the Kenny Rogers Childrenís Center Telethon and wrote editorials that made national news.

While Mike is the extrovert, Don is more of the introvert, choosing to stay more behind the scenes, opting more for his farm as opposed to committees. As our general manager, he navigated us through ever-changing times that saw newspapers across the country fold.

While they are different, they each had one important similarity Ė they loved their employees. I am getting ready to begin my 21st year as an employee here, and as I look around, most everyone still has more seniority than I do. That type of longevity of a staff is practically unheard of in any business, but especially the newspaper business where employees seem to come and go at a high rate.

When I was hired at the Standard in August of 1998 I had no illusions of being here more than a couple years and moving on. But with the leadership of Mike and Don, the newspaper began to feel like a family so I have stayed. Iím sure everyone else who works here can tell a similar story.

Personally, each of them have taught me more than I can articulate in this small space. At times they were bosses, at times they were father figures, at times they were friends but they were family almost from day one.

It will be sad to walk through the front door Monday morning and see the offices to my left and right both dark. I have learned so much from each of them, as has everyone who works here. But while they are off playing with grandchildren and enjoying their days away from the paper, we will continue on, using what they taught us to bring you the best newspaper we can.

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