When I walked into the doors of The Farmersville Times office 13 years ago, I had no idea what was in store. I was going to stay for a year, maybe two at the most.
But something happened. I fell in love with the town and with the people in this small, quaint borough.
Finding events like Audie Murphy Day, Scare on the Square and the Bugtussle Trek drew me in. Then the local first responder community that welcomed me with open arms into the family and I was hooked.
Becoming a journalist was no easy feat. I had been “trained” in college but dealing with an angry subscriber or city councilmember was something no one had prepared me for.
Having an illegal search done by a former city manager was something I had only concocted in my mind after reading ‘All the President’s Men’ for the twentieth time but it really happened. So did the 90,000 words I wrote on the Muslim Cemetery saga.
Fast forward to five years down the road and I became news editor, and was able to get to know a ‘little’ city to the west named Princeton.
At first it wasn’t all roses but as the city grew, some of the issues evened out. I have a feeling it’s simply because everyone was busy dealing with astronomical growth. And of course, the daily wrecks on Hwy. 380.
Covering both communities and school districts has been a highlight in my journalism career, and though I’m moving on to greener pastures (or trees) in east Texas, I will never forget our readers or community.
To those over the past few weeks that have made me feel extra special, thank you. I love all that you are, and what you stand for.
Instead of offering more sadness, I thought perhaps I would leave you a little insight into a journalist’s world. In no particular order, here are my top five favorite subjects I have covered.
5) The Muslim Cemetery saga. I know, it seems weird. But literally nothing aided me more as a journalist than learning through writing about this topic. It also taught me how to keep my mouth shut.
4) Every single emergency scene I responded to. I enjoyed this one not only because of the challenges photographing a scene in the dark presents but because it offered me a rare look into the world of first responders. It also afforded me the chance to pray for the victims.
3) The biggest tree in Texas. Early on in my career, I got to traipse through the woods along with fellow reporter Jennifer Fike and some Guiness Book of World Record measurers all for the sake of a tree. It was really cool.
2) Every single VFW or veteran related story. Whether it was about Audie Murphy Day or relaying stories of PTSD through a veteran’s eyes, each and every one of them made me stop and think. It also made me appreciate my freedom.
1) Community events, they all matter. Attending homecomings, downtown events in Farmersville or the community-wide egg hunt in Princeton, I enjoyed getting to meet everyone and be the historian of the town to capture photos of these events.
To those who have supported me, aided me in countless answers to questions and supported a journalist’s work to cover their community, thank you. Our job as community watchdogs would not be possible without your help.
I will be leaving The Times this week to become the managing editor for The Marshall News Messenger. I wish everyone a fond farewell.
By Wyndi Veigel, News Editor for The Farmersville Times & The Princeton Herald.
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