Homeward bound is a bittersweet move

Published 5:45 pm Sunday, July 7, 2013

It’s with a heavy heart that I must say goodbye to all my co-workers, neighbors and friends in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Debbie, Jennifer and I have enjoyed our time immensely here and have made friends we will cherish for the rest of our lives.  I have always said that for all the things Ahoskie doesn’t have, it makes up for it with some of the nicest people in the world. It truly is “The Only One.”

When we first arrived here, we found it very similar to our home in South Georgia: a small, rural town in the corner of a state whose main industry is agriculture; not far from the coast, with plenty of fishing waters close by. Those of you who know me know how I love fishing and the great outdoors.

Little did we know how much we would fall in love with the people here. We threw ourselves into the community to pay our civic dues. Both Debbie and I became very involved in the Chamber of Commerce. I was honored to serve on the Chamber Board of Directors, and Debbie served on the Chamber Auxiliary. I also was involved with the Ahoskie Rotary Club, the Ahoskie Historical Board, any many other committees on which I felt I could lend my talent and a helping hand.

It was not in our plans to leave here so soon, but due to unforeseen health issues, I am retiring from Roanoke-Chowan Publications. We will be moving back to South Georgia, where we still own a home at Lake Seminole. It’s a bittersweet move; we will move back to our family, but we are saddened to leave the wonderful relationships we’ve built here. I hope I have touched some of you, our readers here, in some way. Many of you have certainly touched our lives.

It’s funny how life seems to throw us curves sometimes, but when it does you have to pick yourself up by the boot straps and carry on. I thought back in 2006 when I had a kidney transplant that this would be my trial and tribulation. Debbie was my kidney donor, and she and I fought back from that curve ball. We’ll fight back from this one, however this may be even more challenging than the last pitch.

As I write my final good bye to a lot of you and listen to my favorite band of all time, Styx, I reflect back on many of your faces and reminisce about the good times we shared.  It seems like just yesterday that Debbie and I attended our first Rotary Ball only days after moving here. Looking back, it’s funny how we did not know one soul there that night, and now we know most all of you. Wow.

I would like to thank my staff for their support while I was captain of this ship. There isn’t a finer bunch in the industry. I also want to thank Boone Newspapers Inc. for the support and confidence placed in me. My only regret is that I couldn’t finish the job I started.

I hope to stay in touch with many of you out there ….until next time.

Joe Cowart served as Publisher of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. His final day on the job was Friday, July 5.