This is the letter I always knew someday I’d have to write, but wouldn’t want to write. It’s my farewell letter to a newspaper that is more family to me than an on-going business. It’s a farewell letter that leaves me with so many great memories, as well as mixed emotions.
As you’ve read on the front page of this issue, the Mirror-Reporter has been sold to Mid-America Corp. This is my last issue as owner and publisher of this publication and I just wanted to leave our readers with this short good-bye.
In 1983, when we purchased the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter, I could have never guessed in my wildest dreams the 34 year ride I was in for. At that time I had a lot more ideas than money and needed someone to believe in the vision of where I thought this newspaper could go.
“Thank You” isn’t nearly enough for the people who not only believed in my vision, but also believed in me. People like Ray Hewitt at Clear Lake Bank & Trust, my wife’s parents Roger and Barb Amosson, my parents Jerry and Vi Finnegan, a young girl right out of college, our editor Marianne Gasaway, and most importantly my wife, Sue. Believe me, there was no better incentive to making sure the newspaper would succeed than knowing if it didn’t, my mother and father in-law could lose a farm and my parents could lose their house. That type of incentive led to some late nights doing special projects for extra income and maxed out credit cards to cover payroll.
Through it all, though, we prevailed and never lost faith because we always believed God had a plan for us. We also believed that God led us here. He’d never let us down and He’s not going to let us down now. All along we believed all we had to do was work hard, do our best and we’d be fine. So, with hard work and determination, things did, in fact, begin to be a little less stressful. After a number of years, loans and contracts were paid off, parents were off the hook and didn’t have to worry about losing any property and no more maxing credit cards to cover payroll. Sue and I were finally able to experience some of the advantages we could have only hoped for years before.
I owe this newspaper so much. It has allowed Sue and I to live in a comfortable home, raise two sons and put them through college and it’s given us a quality of life for which we are truly grateful. The newspaper has also allowed us to be a part of a community that is unique not only in the state of Iowa, but also throughout the Midwest. It is unique not only because of this beautiful 3,600 acre lake we have sitting on our doorstep, it is also special because of the people who live here. People who are willing to donate their time and money to keep Clear Lake looking like the “picture postcard” it is.
While I’m sure I’m going to leave someone out, I’ll try and thank the people responsible for the success this newspaper has experienced over the years. First are the subscribers to our newspaper and the businesses that make up this community. Without your support there simply would be no newspaper. There would be no outstanding staff. There would be no special publications that promote Clear Lake like our “Enjoy” visitor guide, summertime “Resorter” issues or premier real estate guide like our “Home Buyers Guide.” Simply put, our subscribers and advertisers are the backbone of our newspaper.
And just as subscribers and advertisers are our “backbone,” my staff is the newspaper’s heart. Every week their names appear in the Publisher’s box on our editorial page and every week I thank God I am privileged enough to work with the most talented group of co-workers ever assembled in one newspaper office: Marianne, who has been with me since day one and is the true face of this newspaper; Kathleen has been here since 1988, Michelle has been here since 2001, Kim has been here since 2006, Chris has been here full time since 2015, and our newest member, Brodie, has been here for eight months. I wanted to tell you how many years these people have been here, not to try and show how much they love their jobs (though I hope they do), but to show you how dedicated they are to the job of bringing this community a newspaper to be proud of. Thank you, not only for your years of hard work and dedication, but also for the fact that you’ve made the “Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter” one of the top newspapers in the state of Iowa.
I want to thank my family. Sue and I were blessed with two sons, Christopher and Patrick, who from time to time were pressed into helping out at the office. They’ve done everything from cleaning to selling advertising. They were always willing to help out where ever I needed them. I’ll always be grateful for their help and their understanding of doing whatever it takes to make a business a success and I’m also grateful they kept their names off of the back page in their father’s newspaper. Then, there’s Sue. For 34 of the 40 years we’ve been married we’ve journeyed through the ups and downs that this newspaper has provided. She’s been my constant companion and my constant sounding board. I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to trust her judgment and her uncanny intuition. I’ve loved her for over 40 years and I only hope we have many more years to enjoy together.
Finally, I want to thank Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. It took me a while to realize this, but when I did my life took on a whole new meaning. It gave me some insight into what I’ve been doing for the past 34 years. I realize God had this planned for Sue and I all along. He brought everything together, the subscribers, the advertisers, an amazing staff, my family and more. He made all the pieces fit and I was just here to carry out his wonderful amazing plan. Thanks to everyone for being there with me.
Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter