After nearly nine years it is time for me to say good-bye to the Dodge City Daily Globe. I have been given the opportunity to move to Manhattan, the Little Apple, and join the photo staff of the Mercury.

    Making this choice to leave the Globe and Dodge City has been one of the toughest decisions of my life. I grew up here. I've lived here all of my life and have made many friends here. But it is time for me to go.


After nearly nine years it is time for me to say good-bye to the Dodge City Daily Globe. I have been given the opportunity to move to Manhattan, the Little Apple, and join the photo staff of the Mercury.
    Making this choice to leave the Globe and Dodge City has been one of the toughest decisions of my life. I grew up here. I've lived here all of my life and have made many friends here. But it is time for me to go.
    I started my career here as an obituary and news release typist after my friend who also worked at the paper told me about the opening. The next morning, I rushed down to the paper and grabbed an application. If my memory serves me correctly, I filled it out while having breakfast at McDonald's.
    Shortly after that, I was hired.
    Just a few weeks after I started I was able to help out the photographers with a small assignment that they couldn't find the time for. The photo ran small and on an inside page. It wasn't anything special, just some kids reading at the library. But it started a spark.
    A few weeks after that, the Tournament of Champions rolled around and I got my first opportunity to be on the front page. It was a photo of the Hays High School basketball coach reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to a child at Linn Elementary School.
    Not too long after that, I was picking up other assignments in between typing up the obituaries and press releases that would come across my desk.
    That summer, I was even given the opportunity to shoot photos of the Miss Kansas Pageant. I know what you must be thinking, "Gee, you must have really enjoyed that one." Well, I did, but not for the reasons you would think. I walked away from that pageant with a wonderful photograph of the new beauty queen being crowned and lots of confetti falling from the ceiling. It has always been one of my favorite photographs. To this day, it still remains in my portfolio.
    I was also given the opportunity to learn how to design pages. This further expanded my opportunity to learn more about the world of a small newspaper. I learned so much from my mentors at the Globe. And I must say that I have learned a lot since then. I have always said that page design is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I never did like jigsaw puzzles, but I do like page design.
    That was my first year at the Globe. And it was one of my best.
    Fast forward several years later. I have been designing pages and taking photographs for years now. Each year I could feel myself getting better and better at what I was doing. My page design and photography skills improved. I can look back on some of the milestones that tell me where I have been, and how I have improved, both as a photographer and as a designer.
    Looking back through the years, it would be hard for me to go through all of the highs and lows of my career. But there are quite a few moments that stick out. Moments that I don’t think that I could ever forget. Some are good and some are bad. But, that's just the nature of the business.
    One of the moments that showed me the human spirit at it’s finest occurred in March 2006. A soldier from Greensburg died while serving his country in Iraq. When the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka announced that they were going to protest this soldier’s funeral, a group called the Patriot Guard Riders rose to the occasion, assembled and created a barrier between the grieving family and Fred Phelps. I had the honor and the privilege of riding with Karl Steinmetz from Dodge City to Greensburg and back on the back of his Harley Davidson. I don’t think that any of these riders knew this soldier personally, but that didn’t matter. These riders were there to help send off someone who died fighting for this country. It made me feel good to see everyone with flags waiving in the western Kansas wind, shielding the family from the protesters.
    It was one of my longest days and finest as a photographer. My favorite image of that day was a shot of the Patriot Guard members being reflected in the chrome of a motorcycle outside Greensburg High School. I have a copy of that photo hanging in my living room.
    I have seen the worst that Mother Nature has to offer after a huge tornado nearly destroyed Greensburg. Walking through the triage center and seeing the devastation first hand has left an indelible mark in my mind. And seeing the people of Greensburg pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get moving again with a can-do attitude shows me the spirit of the people of western Kansas. Rebuilding is a slow process, but they will come back better and stronger than before.
    And where would I be without talking about Dodge City High School? I am a graduate of DCHS and a long-time supporter of the Demons. I never really cared for sports until I had to photograph them. Being on the sidelines has given me an appreciation of athletes and the sports they play.
    I always found it ironic that when I was a high school student, I only attended two football games. Now, as an adult, my Friday nights are booked and I am at nearly every sporting event. But, don’t get me wrong. I've enjoyed it.
    I have especially enjoyed watching the fans. When the DCHS basketball team three-peated their TOC wins in 2005, the Red Demon Super Fans were just as enjoyable to watch as the action on the court. In fact, sometimes I was paying more attention to the fans than I would the basketball game. You guys made it fun.
    Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way by sending me words of encouragement, thank you cards or just a pat on the back or a kind remark. I appreciate all the opportunities that this community has given me.
    For nearly nine years, I have had the opportunity to show readers in Dodge City and southwest Kansas the news through my eyes. I hope that I have served you well.
    Thank you all, and good luck.