Gannon Jackson

In pursuit of a passion

Nine years and two month later…

I started at the Courier, June of 2003. I accepted this job with the thoughts of just working here through the summer. Boy, I was wrong.

Nine years is a long time at any job, but seems extremely long when working in the news business — the news doesn’t just happen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

This is my last full week at the Courier. This is me saying goodbye and thank you for an amazing nine years.

When I first started here I was just here to keep the office open, to accept classifieds and to type up any community news. My job has grown. This job has turned into my life.

I have seen Vinton County face tragedy; I’ve seen it in great celebration.

Last Christmas Eve, I knew then that as much as I loved working at the Courier that this wasn’t my passion — I’ve learned a lot lately in following your passion — but as I stood at the Vinton County Airport to cover a plane crash, where three people lost their lives that day, I realized I wasn’t made to continue this line of work. I’ve covered fatal car accidents from afar but to actually be standing there as one man is being whisked away to awaiting helicopter and to hear he probably wouldn’t make it is a whole other situation. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. I remember making my dad go with me that day — I knew the outcome wasn’t going to be good and I didn’t want to do it alone, he kept telling me to keep it together this was my job. I kept it together that day, but have not ventured out on many accidents since then.

Not all things with this position have been sad or depressing; I’ve had the opportunity to cover school events, plays, sports events and our community working to help support each other in times of need.

With this job I have made friendships that are irreplaceable. Brandi Betts, one of my first editors here has to this day always been a voice of reason to me. She has kept me calm on many occasions. Penni Alzayer, talked me into my first and last stage performance; Gabrielle Johnson, who spent almost three years here with me, became a dear friend of mine. Last but not least, Meredith Jensen — our readers just recently read her goodbye column — taught me more of journalism in the one year she was here then in all the years before her.

Back to that word passion. In May I lost my dad and at that moment I realized life is way too short not to follow your passions.

It’s my turn to find my passion. What is that? It is raising a two-year-old little boy who calls me “momma”. Gannon is growing up in the blink of the eye. While he has always been the first on my list, I have caught myself dragging him along to community and sporting events that he just isn’t interested in yet. It’s my passion to be more involved in his daily life instead of sitting behind a desk. Gannon is learning new things each day and I’m not the one teaching him everything, some thing’s that he has learned weren’t to my likings (Aunt Tory) but it’s now going to be my full time job. Who would of thought of me wanting to be a stay-at-home mom? Ha! Anything is possible.

Vinton County is an amazing place and I am honored that I had the opportunity to cover it’s happenings. As Gerry Frye used to say, “Vinton County is the garden spot of the world.”

During the Courier’s transition, be patient. The office hours will be limited to Monday and Friday’s till someone is hired to replace me. I will still be a part of the Courier team until then. If you need assistance you are encourage to either call the McArthur location at 596-5393 or the Athens Messenger at 592-6612, someone will be available to help you.

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