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Memorable experiences help prepare for new adventure

My first day as a reporter for The Clanton Advertiser was Oct. 1, 2012. Although I can’t remember specifics of what I covered that first day, I know my first impressions of Chilton County involved wondering if I would fit in or if people would ever talk to me because I was a nosy newspaper reporter.

Almost immediately, I was welcomed by individuals from all walks of life as I would pull out my notepad and pen and “jot down” the stories and facts that were told to me each day.

Some of my favorite memories throughout the three-plus years have included seeing the county from above on a day filled with sunshine from a complimentary helicopter ride, attending the annual Jemison Fairytale Show, riding around the scenic countryside learning about the future of the county’s roads, and singing Christmas carols with hot chocolate in my hands at the Clanton tree-lighting ceremony.

Things have not always been easy with some of the stories I have written having tragic endings, but most of the time everyone was gracious in understanding that there is still a newspaper that needs to publish every day.

One example of the graciousness appeared this past Christmas day when I called a member of the local law enforcement to find out information about an incident that occurred earlier that morning. I knew by calling him I was more than likely interrupting dinner with his family, but I called anyway in pursuit of the details for the story.

After calling and talking to him for half an hour, he overheard the tornado sirens going off in the background of our telephone call as I was calling him from my parents’ house.

Several hours after we spoke I received a text message from him asking if I was OK as he was wondering if my family had been affected by the storms that passed over Birmingham that night.

He didn’t have to answer my telephone call, but he did and took the time to make sure I was OK after speaking with him for the story and was gracious in understanding I had a story to write.

Now, it’s time for me to write a completely different story.

In April my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. He has been a delight and joy, and I have decided to exchange my reporter hat for a new hat of “mom.”

There are so many people I would like to personally thank for making my reporting career in Chilton County memorable, challenging and fun. My co-workers made returning to work every day enjoyable, but it was the people in Chilton County who allowed me to write every day.

Chilton County is a special place. It’s one that is filled with wonderful people. Those memories will forever fill my heart, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Emily Reed is a former staff writer for The Clanton Advertiser.