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I always knew this day would come and yet I never prepared for it. After nearly four years at the Muscatine Journal, I am moving on. In about a week I’ll be moving to Bristol, Virginia, to take a job with a group of newspapers there. I’m leaving behind a wonderful, dedicated staff. They are the true engine behind making sure the Journal gets into your hands day after day and a special group that I will miss dearly.

I’ve moved on before — taken other jobs — traveled to different parts of the country for one thing or another. But this move, leaving Muscatine, feels a bit more like my very first move when I left home at 18 to join the Air Force. That move was the most difficult for me. I was leaving home for the first time. I was leaving family and friends. I was heading off into the wild blue yonder without knowing exactly where I was going or what to expect, but I knew I would be leaving a part of myself behind.

That’s the way that I feel about leaving Muscatine. In the short time I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve gotten to know this community better than any other I’ve lived in, except for where I grew up as a child. I’ve met so many people in the community who care about making this a better place to live. I’ve stood side-by-side with other volunteers at events that brought the community together. And I’ve seen the way this community pulls together when tragedy happens. I’m leaving with a lot of memories of Muscatine, both happy and sad. If you’ll permit me a bit of nostalgia, I’ll share just a tiny fraction of them:

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  • The loss of long-time Journal reporter Cynthia Beaudette to her fight with cancer. She was a special person and I will cherish her memory.
  • Our annual Ping Pong Ball drops during Great River Days. There is nothing better than seeing the faces of kids light up when they receive a new toy.
  • My work with Rotary Youth Exchange. Meeting kids from other countries, learning about their cultures and helping to show them what the U.S. is really like was a real joy for me.
  • The Holiday Stroll. This is a wonderful event that seems uniquely Muscatine. To see so many people come out and enjoy a winter parade, music and other festivities always warmed my heart on those cold winter evenings.
  • Experiencing the MHS booster cake auction for the first time. The event and the generosity are truly amazing.
  • Our weekly editorial board meetings where we discussed the challenges facing the community and sometimes even tried to solve the challenges facing the world.
  • Having press operations from around the world rely on the Muscatine Journal for photos and stories about the visit of then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.
  • Being present when the Muscatine Journal was named the best small daily newspaper in Iowa.

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I could go on but I won’t. They are my memories and don’t mean much to you.

And you, dear reader — loyal Muscatine Journal subscriber — I will miss you most of all. Without you, Muscatine couldn’t have a daily newspaper to record its history and tell its stories. Without your stories, your participation and your passion, Muscatine would be a poorer place. For four short years I was proud to call the Muscatine Journal my newspaper, but for many of you the Journal has been your newspaper for a lifetime. Thank you for letting me be a part of that for just a little while.

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Steve Jameson is the editor and publisher of the Muscatine Journal until Tuesday, July 15.

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