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Bailey Poolman - Girl on Fire

Poolman: Saying goodbye

After some internal debate about when I wanted to write this, I figured I should just get it out of the way now, as it’ll be even more difficult the longer I put it off.

The time has come for me to, as they say, move on. In reality, I’m not really going anywhere, but I will no longer be striking the keys at a Creston News Advertiser computer.

I am starting a new chapter in Lenox, where I have accepted a position as EMT.

It’s strange, saying goodbye to an office space I’ve made my home away from home and the people surrounding me at the newspaper office. I’ve been at the newspaper three months shy of five years, but it feels like a lifetime.

When I moved to Creston in November 2012, it felt real: I was out on my own for the first time in my life (aside from college) with my first full-time job about to begin. My little one-bedroom apartment on West Montgomery Street slowly became lived in, and I enjoyed being able to walk the short distance to work in the morning and back in the afternoons.

Stephani Finley, my first full-time editor, really opened my eyes to the industry and taught me so much about the proper way to format a police report and when to use a descriptive word (which seemed like never often enough, in my opinion). Then Kyle Wilson became editor and the game changed a little bit. Now, Scott Vicker holds the reigns and it will feel odd not having to wake up, swipe mascara on and make sure my camera is near the front door so I don’t forget it on my way to work.

Three months after moving to Creston, I made another life-altering decision when my application to join the Creston Fire Department was accepted. Coming to town with a degree in English and creative writing from the University of Iowa, I never dreamed I’d find something like firefighting to be at all appealing; that is, until I saw what it meant to be part of it.

I have many people to thank for this journey, but first, I want to thank Cheryl Blazek. I just happened to be at the station the day she posted the next EMT class being held through Southwestern Community College and, after many questions she answered for me, I decided to register. I also want to thank Randy Crum, who really did teach us what we needed to know at the Corning class. And, also, I blame him for me continuing my education at Iowa Western Community College in the paramedic program, something, just like firefighting, I never dreamed I’d be doing.

While I was at the paper, I covered many beats throughout the area: police, fire, school board, hospital board, county supervisors, SWCC board and the occasional city council meeting.

Thanks to Paul, Rick, Tracy, Mark and all the other law enforcement officers for keeping me on my toes regularly, and thanks to Todd, Gary, Lee, Mike and Casey, as well as Ray, Mick and all other firefighters, for welcoming me into the brotherhood.

Thanks to Ron, Dennis, Dale and Sandy, as well as Lois, for the time spent at the supervisors meetings and putting up with me being gone quite a bit early in the year.

In general, it was a pleasure getting to know everyone who really put time and effort into making our community the best it can be.

Most of all, I want to thank everyone at the CNA for their support. I know I’ve not been the easiest to work with, especially as I’ve been gone nearly every Thursday for the past 12 months.

To be a bit cliche, it’s been a roller coaster ride here. Thank you to everyone in advertising for listening to me gripe about class or other stressful events. Thanks to the front desk, human resources and IT ladies for providing friendship and fun at the paper. It’s been great getting to know everyone in the back. Thanks to Rich for allowing me to learn and grow here at the paper, and thank you to everyone I’ve known in the newsroom: it truly has been so amazing knowing every single one of you (Kelsey, you’re included too).

This column is a bit longer than I usually write, but I think it deserves the space, as everyone I’ve mentioned and more deserve the space. I wouldn’t be who I am without everyone’s influence, everyone’s support and guidance, so thank you.

My last day as a staff reporter, Aug. 25, looms ever closer, and, while it feels like I’m saying goodbye forever, I’m not leaving. I’m just altering my surroundings, fitting myself into a slice of the community where I’ve wanted to be for quite some time.

I know I’ll still see everyone now and then, out and about. This is a close-knit community, one I’m glad to remain a part of, even if I am saying goodbye.

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