All good things must come to an end

By Andy Winemiller -

All good things must come to an end.

I’ve been told that before, and I’ve repeated it many times to loved ones and friends. When the vacation nears its end, one must understand that a return to work is inevitable. When the dog dies, one must realize that even things we love don’t last forever.

The same goes for careers. My grandfather worked for 30 years at Ford Motor Co. He worked hard and left with a nice pension.

Stories like his are an anomaly in today’s business climate, however. Most of us find ourselves making many stops on our journeys toward the golden years and retirement.

Some moves are driven from dreams. Others are driven by necessity. There are times we must move on from things we love to better provide for those we love.

If you haven’t picked up on the undertone yet, this good thing is coming to an end — just as everything does.

Like many of those other things which have come to an end, I’ll now be able to look back fondly on the memories of life in the news business. I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity.

When I left active duty service in the army, I left as an airborne infantryman. The job market isn’t so kind to airborne infantrymen. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t find somebody to write me a check for jumping out of planes, marching around and shooting stuff.

I had gained some considerable office experience in the army, managing our company’s human resources and administrative functions, but even that didn’t seem to resonate with employers.

I bumbled about. Eventually, I bumbled my way to a battle-buddy’s place in Surry County. I liked it. I stayed. Eventually, it became evident that I probably ought to get a job.

It was then that I leaned on a very small part of what I had done in the army. I had served as our unit’s public information operations officer. Every month I had written and prepared a newsletter which was sent home to all of the wives, moms, kids and others who cared about our paratroopers.

For some reason, those newsletters and a little bit of city manager experience was enough to land me a job writing for a daily newspaper.

That’s why I write and think about the army so much. It played a huge role in my becoming who I am today.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at The Mount Airy News, and I can say that the organization became a pivotal turning point in a life filled with few responsibilities, quite a bit of beer and a great deal of loneliness.

It was through my job that I found the means to become involved in a community. After all, it made me get out and about in it. And after having done that, I feel comfortable stating that this place is an amazing community.

I have to tie my fingers often, as I’m not supposed to have an opinion on the stuff about which I write. Come Friday, I guess I get to have an opinion about anything, though, so here it goes.

Firstly, I cannot thank the Surry County Board of Commissioners and its staff enough for the great working relationship we have maintained for more than two and a half years. I’ve been impressed by the course these leaders have set for this county. It is a course of fiscal restraint complimented with a little compassion and some vision for the future, and it will lead to a better Surry County for all.

Then there’s Dobson. It’s an inspiring little place, in my humble opinion. It’s town board is filled with folks serving for the right reasons, and the town staff is a group of young folks who are always looking for a way to make Dobson a better place to live.

Surry County public officials are some of the kindest, hardest-working people I’ve met. In an age when most folks sneer their noses at the media, I’ve been blessed to work with an EMS director and a sheriff’s office which is always a phone call away.

I’m most inspired, however, by all of the groups doing good things in the community. Groups like the Shepherd’s House, the Children’s Center, local churches and Helping Hands of Surry truly make this community a better place than most. It has been a privilege to tell the stories of those groups and many others.

Of course, it hasn’t all been about work, and it hasn’t all been about me.

The Mount Airy News also led me to what I love most in life — my wife and children.

I always planned to own a house in the middle of nowhere and fill that house with loved ones by the time I reached my early 30s. I’m there, and a great deal of thanks must be conveyed to this publication and this community.

In closing, I must add that life is a pretty windy road. I’ve winded my way through it with stops on other continents, in many states and at many jobs.

If you just follow the curves and turns and brace yourself for the potholes, you might end up like me. And that’s not so bad. I’m pretty happy with it.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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