There are no words to describe the amount of joy and fulfillment I have received during my time here at The Star-Herald, which makes it very difficult to say goodbye.
When I first came to the Kosciusko/Attala County area in May 2021, I was a wide-eyed, recent Mississippi State graduate looking for an opportunity to put my skills to the test, learn the ropes, and begin growing my career as a journalist.
Since then, it has been quite the journey.
As college graduation neared, I discovered an opening for a news reporter at The Star-Herald newspaper based in Kosciusko. I appreciate my former publisher Karen Fioretti for recognizing my abilities and pursuing me while I was still a student.
In my first week as news reporter, I recall covering a supervisors meeting in which fellow Meridianite Ricky Hood discussed seeking a stronger relationship between the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls Club and the community. I also took a trip to the old Kosciusko Junior High School on Tipton Street where former students turned parents searched for a missing time capsule they once buried as eighth-graders.
Since those early beginnings, I have been blessed to cover many stories in and beyond the area. One of my favorite stories was about community efforts being raised to build a giant cross. However, my favorite assignment was interviewing Mississippi legend James Meredith when he stopped by his hometown of Kosciusko while executing his final mission from God.
Thank you to Kosciusko Mayor Tim Kyle for giving me that opportunity. I will always be grateful for those memories.
In January of this year, I sustained injury from a gunshot wound which resulted in some lingering complications I must address sooner rather than later, which is partly why I am stepping away.
Rest assured, the issues will not keep me down. I have God on my side, just as I did the night I was shot and just as I did on the day my soul was saved as a young boy in New Hope Baptist Church.
In February, I was named editor and publisher of The Star-Herald, a role I have thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Wyatt Emmerich and Dan Strack of Emmerich Newspapers for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this newspaper. It has been one of my life’s greatest honors and provided me with a broader opportunity to serve the Lord while doing something I loved. It has always been my goal to provide in-depth stories of importance to our readers while holding public officials accountable and keeping the communities we serve informed. My biggest prayer is that through my publishing, others have been encouraged to seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, the one from whom all blessings flow.
Scripture tells us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 KJV.
Thank you to city and county officials and all others who worked transparently with me as I developed stories for our readers.
To former Kosciusko Mayor Jimmy Cockroft and current Kosciusko Mayor Tim Kyle, thank you for always welcoming me into your office no matter the time or topic of discussion. Both of y’all truly welcomed me to this community, made me feel at home, and gave me encouragement to be great.
I would like to especially thank the Ables family, who took me in as part of their clan since I got here. To Jack and Shirley Ables, Ronnie and Suzanne Ables, and Jackie Turner, thank you for always being there for me and loving me as your own. Each of you will always be part of my family for life.
I would be remiss without mentioning my lifelong friends I gained during my time here — Breck Riley and Jacob McBride.
To my Star-Herald family I’ve been blessed to know and work with, this journey would have never been possible without each of you. To Jennifer McCaskill, thank you for everything you taught me and for always being a shining light to everybody in the office. Mrs. Beverly Casteel, thank you for always being kind and for giving me valuable writing tips. Mrs. Trisha Oakes, thank you for being my “second mama” and for always sticking by my side. I never could have survived without you and our friendship. Sarah Kathryn Marston, thank you for joining our staff with excitement and a desire to serve the community. Austin Hutchinson, I am so proud of how far you’ve progressed in such a short amount of time. Thank you for doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Mr. Larry Ables, thank you for your years of hard work and dedication to this newspaper.
Additionally, thank you to Kevin Brunt, Laurence Hilliard, and fellow publishers Tish Butts, Brent Maze, Robbie Robertson, Waid Prather, Joseph McCain, Tim Kalich, and Jack Ryan.
I am confident that Ruthie Robison will be exceptional as the new publisher. She is a woman of integrity who will continue to serve our communities and our readers.
I am unsure what my future holds, but I know who holds my future. When I reflect on my time spent at The Star-Herald serving our communities, I can only smile and think of it as home.