I want to thank everyone who helped make my first two years in journalism possible.

I want to thank everyone who helped make my first two years in journalism possible.

Thanks to fellow reporter Brian Hughes, who was always an earshot away from my many questions.

In addition to receiving editorial insight from editor Thomas Boni and sports editor Randy Dickson, I heavily relied upon Dawn Barnes, the office receptionist, who often showed me how to correctly use the office copier.

I would also like to thank our incredible editorial assistant, Renee Bell, the glue that keeps the publication together.

Plus, how could I forget our advertising duo of Sherrie and Melissa, who are vital to our operation.

Upon employment, I was assigned to cover Laurel Hill City Council meetings. Despite Laurel Hill's small size, covering any city council meeting can be intimidating for a reporter just starting out. But city officials helped me along the way.

Nita Miller, the city clerk, was almost always available to answer questions. Council member Larry Hendren and Mayor Robby Adams were just as dependable.

While possible dissolution looms over Laurel Hill, due to the cityís inability to maintain city roadways, I believe the council is doing to its part to help by recently attaining a $600,000 state grant to fund those repairs. Only time will tell if the road repairs will be enough to keep Laurel Hill a municipality.

While covering Laurel Hill, I had the opportunity to help organize this yearís Hobo Festival. Providing a community event that's free to residents was a rewarding experience.

Another first experience was shooting a firearm, which took place at a shooting range under the close supervision of Crestview PDís finest.

While the Crestview PD took a lot of criticism in fallout from the Joey Floyd scandal, I believe the department is heading in the right direction under Police Chief Tony Taylor's leadership.  

In addition to organizing a citizens safety police academy, Taylor is aiding the departmentís transparency by hosting "Coffee with a Cop" events, allowing residents to share their concerns about public safety.

I could go on about the great experiences and unique individuals I encountered while working at the News Bulletin, but there are too many to count. (Although I can now check "Meeting a city council member who is skilled in martial arts" off my list.)

Finally, I want to thank the people of Crestview, Baker, Laurel Hill and Holt.

Email Santa Rosa Press Gazette Staff Writer Matthew Brown, follow him on Twitteror call 850-623-2120.