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Column

A long way from home

Tyler Hetu
Tyler Hetu

It’s hard to put to words how quick the last few months have gone by for me.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

For the last 22 years I spent my life living in a combination of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with some stints in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C, with the last five years dreaming a fantasy about being ‘the next Ken Rosenthal’, a baseball know-it-all and savant that seemingly never has a day off.

To me it seemed like the perfect job, a never ending life of watching and writing about sports. However, there was one problem in trying to make a career in an industry of “It’s all about who you know.”

I knew nobody.

Because of that, I had struggled to gain any ground in a career search, causing me to not only lose faith but also the motivation to search. I knew that before the flame was completely extinguished I had to looked further west, going as far as Nebraska. While scanning through the state of Iowa, I stumbled upon the application for a sports reporter position with the Creston News Advertiser.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I remember applying vividly - I had a particularly bad day at my previous job and had come home to prepare for a weekend with friends in Newport, a seaside city that is the home of the Tennis Hall of Fame and the namesake to the cigarette company.

I rushed an email and sent it to then managing editor Scott Vicker. I didn’t expect a response, and went about my weekend with friends. Looking back, I think I had forgot I sent an application to the News Advertiser when Monday came around.

It wasn’t until Scott Vicker answered me asking for writing samples did I realize I had a real shot at making my goal a reality. A few emails and phone calls later, I packed up a U-Haul for a two day journey to Creston, Iowa. A 1,179-mile trip (not a typo) through eight states, a snow storm and dozens of snow and ice covered country roads brought me here.

The idea of me, a city kid my whole life, moving to a small mid-western town in rural Iowa I still think has not set in yet. I still am not used to the near hour drive to the closest Chipotle (It used to take an hour to drive the length of Rhode Island) and I’m not used to how flat the landscape is.

But, over the last couple of weeks I have slowly found my feel for the Iowa life.

I’ve found that the “six degrees of separation” is a real thing, and that somehow in some way everyone has a connection to each other, or at least to the Vicker family.

I have also grown a strong affinity to HyVee’s chinese food, preferably the general tso’s and crab rangoons.

But above everything, I’ve come to appreciate where I’ve come from more.

I appreciate the little things that I can’t find here, like a Dunkin Donuts coffee, New England based beer, and the overpriced Grubhub delivery services.

I also appreciate the friends that took the time to read my work in college, giving me the confidence I needed to keep going, and the teachers and classmates who have helped push me to make a pipe dream a reality. Without them I think I’d still be where I was three months ago with no change in sight.

While I still have a long ways to go, I know that right now the News Advertiser is the right place for me to be, and I know that working with Carter and Larry will make me a better reporter and a better person at the end of the day. I appreciate everything they have done too.

I hate being sentimental, so I’ll leave it with this.

Thank you Creston for welcoming me with open arms, and thanks for still reading the newspaper. It means more to me than you think.

• • •

Contact the writer:

Email – thetu@crestonnews.com

Twitter – @TheTylerHetu

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