Last updated: April 01. 2014 12:51AM - 554 Views
By Bill Duffield

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It’s kind of strange, writing this.

It’s not strange that I’m writing a column to announce I’m leaving the Gazette. It’s strange that I’m doing this for the third time.

I’ve loved my time in Xenia and at the Gazette more than I can put into words. During the four years I was off pursuing news in other areas — New Carlisle, Huber Heights and Fairborn — I was constantly thinking of my time at the Gazette. When Brown Publishing, who owned the Gazette as well as the Fairborn Herald, decided to combine those papers, I was back in Xenia again.

When I left the Gazette the second time, this time to assist a friend who needed an editor for the Kettering-Oakwood Times, I was gone a bit longer, nearly 12 years. Again, the combination of offices brought me back to Xenia and covering the city itself.

Being on the news side of things has been a bit different. Before, I was covering sports, writing about your sons and daughters — but since I’ve been here since 1987, I’ve probably penned stories about many of you who were part of Buccaneer sports.

I have always been proud of the way we covered the stories about our young athletes. Win or lose, we never tried to over-inflate a hero who scored the winning point, or deflate the still a hero who happened to let a ground ball go through his legs and allow the winning run to score. No, no Bill Buckner goat stories here.

But, when you’re on the news side, you’re writing about bad stuff. That’s not as much fun.

There were times when I didn’t want to write about someone getting a OVI or was arrested on a warrant. They’re neighbors and possibly friends, since I’ve lived in Xenia for most of the 26 years my family’s been in Greene County.

What will I remember from my time here?

I will remember that I may be the only person to work at the Gazette on three separate occasions.

I’ll remember the disappointment in the eyes of Phil Anderson, the Xenia High School basketball coach who had to tell his players there was no season after budget cuts caused for the district to drop sports after the fall season — on the day when he was to be passing out uniforms.

I’ll remember watching the joy from the Beavercreek girls’ basketball team giving coach Ed Zink three state titles by playing the game Zink’s way — as a TEAM. Zink also had three teams lose in the state semifinals.

Although I moved here years after the 1974 tornado, I was in Xenia for the 1989 and 2000 “devil winds” that caused destruction in Xenia. There were the stories from 1989 of the people who had homes ripped apart in 1974 having the same fate 15 years later. In 2000, I remember the light poles in the West Park Square lot leaning from the power of the wind and the cars in the lot looking like they had been hit with shotgun blasts from the rocks thrown about with such great force.

I had the opportunity to view the outdoor drama “Bluejacket” on several occasions. Such a wonderful production. It is a shame that the financing is not there to keep it going.

There are many more memories that I will carry with me to the next phase of life in Louisville, Ky.

I’ll remember those who worked hard to make my job of bringing you the news easier. I also remember those who were less than cooperative in doing that task. Each know who they are and how I feel about them.

I leave you with an old Irish blessing.

“May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

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