You might say this column marks the end of an era in my life as it will be my last as a full-time employee of The Daily Record. It is my chance to say goodbye to a community that has meant so much to me.
It was in 1999 that I came home and started reporting news in Harnett County. I lived here until my college years and am a proud graduate of Triton High School.
First, I was based in Dunn, and then spent 10 years as editor of the Harnett County News, which was also published by Record Publishing. When that publication went the way of so many others in the modern era of journalism, I came back to Dunn and have been back for nearly 10 years. I can truly say it was a high honor.
I have celebrated with this community, cried with the people here, and watched the area grow. I have reported the very best and the very worst. In this role I have literally met movie stars, presidential candidates and legendary American figures.
As in most cases, anything I accomplished in this position was due to people. Former Managing Editor Lisa Farmer brought me back home to work at The Daily Record and supervised me for the better part of 20 years. She left The Daily Record earlier this year, but she was a big part of any success I had here. Thank you, Lisa.
New Managing Editor Emily Weaver stepped into Lisa’s big shoes and is doing an outstanding job leading the paper into the future. Thank you also, Emily, and all the best.
I had the high honor to work for and know Hoover Adams for 13 years. The fact the man is not in the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame is an injustice.
I swear his spirit is still in this building some days and I miss our conversations.
The Adams family continues to own the paper, and to all of them I owe a debt of gratitude.
I wouldn’t attempt to name all of the fine journalists I worked with over the years for fear of leaving someone out, but a lot of friends have come and gone in 20 years. Some are still here.
Any journalist is worthless without readers, and I had many who need to be mentioned. I will miss conversations with great readers like Rick Stephenson, Tony Morrison and others.
So, I close this chapter of my life with these final words, “God be with you, Dunn.”
I’ll still be here in Harnett County, now teaching our next generation. My name won’t appear on the front page nearly every day, but I will be with you in spirit.
You are always in my heart.
Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.