On May 20, I journeyed across the Wabash River for my first day as an intern staff reporter for the Mount Carmel Register.

Born and raised in Winslow, Indiana, and a senior at Indiana University in Bloomington, I did not know what awaited a Hoosier in Illini country.

I was pleasantly surprised, however, that you all told me many a time that you “would not hold that against me.” 

During my 2 months here, I have become familiar with the Mount Carmel community. In which time, I discovered it was an innovative, generous and passionate society of people eager to improve the area.

I went to countless ribbon cuttings, benefits, meetings and events centered around the advancement of Wabash County.

But, mostly, I met people. 

To Lesley Hipsher, the first “official” person I met at the Chamber meeting so long ago: Thank you for being a constant source of information. You were always so patient with my questions and general bewilderment during events and meetings. When I first met you, you were the Executives Director of the Wabash County Chamber of Commerce. Now, I know you as a involved mother, 4-H enthusiast and organizational queen.

To Mayor Bill Hudson, Commissioners Joe Judge, Eric Ikemire, Rod Rodriguez, and Justin Dulgar, and Dave Easter: Thank you for always giving me a hard time. Your jokes and sense of humor brightened up every photo, city council meeting and event I attended with you.

To Rudy Witsman: Thank you for letting me bother you with questions about facts and figures that I wanted to write about, and for always being prompt with your responses.

To Detective Sgt. Ryan Turner, Wabash County Sheriff Derek Morgan and Chief of Police John Lockhart: Thank you for all of the press releases, mug shots and updates for the press. Thank you for continuing to make this community safe with your work.

To Jacque Cullison: Thank you for being the go-to gal at Beall Woods. I loved all of the informative events you hosted this summer, and I appreciate your helpful knowledge on all things outdoors!

To Patti Mortland: Thank you for the motivation to keep running. You are an inspiration.

To Patti Skees: Thank you for opening up your life and work with the Wabash County Health Department to me--you were one of my favorite interviews. And your new baby calf is adorable.

To Mary Borowiak: Thank you for all of the delicious ice cream and the cheerful smile that greeted me at Tastee Freez this summer. I wish I could take a lifetime supply of your cheesecake back to IU with me.

To Tom Ford, Leo Lambert, Pete James and Paul McClellan: First and foremost, thank you for your service to our country. Leo, Pete and Paul, thank you for sharing your experience on the Honor Flight with me, you all are real characters and I love your sense of humor. Leo, I still have the “dime-in” ring.

To Andrea Loll: Thank you letting me tag along to all of the cool things happening at WVC. You are a very busy woman, and I appreciate the time you gave me!

Finally, to my coworkers at the Register:

Laurie Snidle--I know we haven’t worked together for long, but thank you for keeping me up to date with everything Edwards County.

Bob Tanquary--Thank you for all the names I did not know, obituary prices and daily hour updates. You keep the machine running.

Joey Luecke--Thank you for riding shotgun to the one and only manhunt I covered this summer. I was extremely nervous about what we were going into, and I was glad to have someone with me. Also, thank you for all the technical solutions to internet problems I know nothing about.

Sandra Higgins--Thank you for all the identifications on photos, general knowledge about Mt. Carmel and for sharing with me your love of pigs! You were a hoot (or should I say “oink!”) to work with!

Susan Wiseman--Thank you for manning the hull of the ship. You stood with me through complaints, compliments and everything in between, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Marcus Smith and T. J. Hug--We have been together for a short period, but I was so happy to actually have people to talk to and joke with in the newsroom. I appreciate the workload you took off of me. I wish you both the best at the Register.

Scott McCallen--Thank you for being the part-time-full-time sports guy. Seeing you everywhere I went not only gave me someone to talk to, but you gave me access to information that I could not find alone. Also, I grew up listening to the college’s radio station, and I feel like I’ve met a celebrity. You were such a joy to work with.

Phil Gower--Although I never worked directly with you, I felt your presence at the Register. Thank you for the support of my work, and of the paper.

Phil Summers--Thank you for being the best boss I’ve ever had. Your genuine concern for me and all of you employees have made the Register a truly great place to work. Thank you for your patience, life advice, and insights on how to tread uncharted waters. Oh, and I guess those cinnamon rolls you bought the office were pretty good too.

Andrea Howe--When I emailed you back at the beginning of May, I had just hoped that maybe there would be some freelance work for me in the area. Little did I know, you had a bigger plan in mind! I was so grateful that you and Phil gave me a shot and were patient with my shortcomings. Thank you for being my mother hen in the newsroom, editing my work to make it better and covering events I couldn’t make it to. I do not know how you do what you do, but I know this company would struggle without all the work you put into the publications every week. You are an incredibly strong and motivated woman whom I look up to.

If I left you out, it is not because I do not care about you, but rather, I would take up the entire paper with people I have come to know and love here. Stay striving, Wabash County.

Best wishes,

Haley Church

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