Today is my last day as local editor of Malverne-West Hempstead-Lynbrook Patch.
Saying goodbye to my fellow Patchers and the great people of Malverne, Lynbrook, West Hempstead and Lakeview is definitely not easy. So instead of focusing on farewells, I'd rather take this time to thank you all for helping me turn Patch into a vital resource for your community.
During the past two-and-half years, so many of you have embraced me and this new digital media with open arms. You have shared your stories, invited me into your classrooms, businesses, clubs and homes, and provided me with crucial tips that have allowed me to shed light on news that matters to you.
It would be impossible to list everyone who has helped me, often on several occasions, during my time at Patch, but I trust that you know who you are. Without you, I would not have been able to do my job as successfully. Without each one of you, Malverne-West Hempstead-Lynbrook Patch would not be what it is today.
I should have known that when I was called to a 4 a.m. bus fire just days after launching this site that I was in for a wild ride, and I must say, I've enjoyed it from beginning to end. At times, this job has challenged me, inspired me and educated me.
Having lived my entire life in Malverne, I thought I knew everything about my one-square-mile village, but this role allowed me to see my hometown in a new light. I've learned so much about its history, schools, politics, businesses and most importantly, the people responsible for making it a great place to live and raise a family.
While I knew many Malvernites before I started wearing a Patch press badge, I could count on one hand my connections in West Hempstead and Lakeview but both communities very quickly made me feel at home. (Sometimes, it felt like I spent more time inside West Hempstead High School for board meetings than in my actual house but I was always surrounded by good company. Again, you know who you are!)
Similarly, when I was asked to start covering Lynbrook roughly seven months ago, I received a warm reception from many local officials, parents and other residents, who were happy to bring me up to speed with what was happening in their village and schools.
Although Malverne, Lynbrook, Lakeview and West Hempstead are each unique, they share one major thing in common. Through working with local leaders, school officials, teachers, parents, coaches, students, business owners and civic groups, I've met many incredible people in each place who deeply care about their community.
I've tried by best to be everywhere, but I could not do it alone. When I couldn't get to the scene of a fire, crash or other emergency, Lou Minutoli, Steve and Brian Grogan were there to capture the action and share it with all of you.
Photographers Sue Grieco, Dave Paone, and Steve Orlando (who took the picture featured above) have also brought the people and events who shape Malverne, Lynbrook, Lakeview and West Hempstead to life with their stunning images. And I've worked with many talented reporters, including John Friia, Steve Strangio, Gary Simeone, Chris Boyle, and Dave Coonan, who have covered countless meetings, games, concerts and other stories that define these communities.
Together these tireless journalists along with our team of Patch editors have published more than 7,700 articles on this site to date. As I hang up my Patch baseball cap, jacket and press badge, I will be joining the rest of you as a loyal reader of Malverne-West Hempstead-Lynbrook Patch and will continue to follow what's happening in my neighborhood.
Don't worry though. I'm leaving you in good hands. Associate Regional Editor Matt Hogan -- who happens to be a West Hempstead High School graduate -- will be running the site now. He's very talented, hardworking and responsive, so don't hesitate to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, story ideas and those all-important news tips.
Malverne is still my home, and Lakeview, Lynbrook and West Hempstead will now always hold a special place in my heart too. I'm sure I will see many of you around town, but in case our paths do not cross again, I'd like to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite musicals: "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."