Thanks to all who made this job fun

Tom Batters

When our publisher told me that our company will cease publication of the Peoria Times-Observer as of April 28 (see story on Page 1A), the first person I thought of was Mariah Smith.

Selfishly, I thought about how I will miss out on covering her senior season at Richwoods. I felt like somebody who thought they won the lottery, only to find out that one of the numbers was wrong.

Then, many other people flashed through my mind, and I felt a lump in my throat because I knew they would no longer be such a big a part of my life.

That may sound a little sentimental, but its’s how I feel.

The people made this job so much fun over the past few years. I enjoyed telling their stories, watching them achieve their victories, and even getting to know some of them as friends.

Eddie Mathews. Roland Brown. Dave Webb. Duane Peterson. Todd Hursey. Ralph Gallo. Lynn Thompson. Kurt Mankle. Ron Carrothers. Mike Ellis. Pat Garst. Derek Amerman. Rick Schertz. Tony DeMoss. Allan Hansen. Julie Hammond. Max and Elle Bielfeldt. Mike Bare. Patti Shaw. Joe Wenskus. Matt Blackford. Katie Murphy (and her mother, Connie, who always told me how much she appreciated my hard work). Jason Whalen. Cody Gilfillan. Abby Ferlmann. Tylon Deal. Brett Cazalet...

There are so many others — too many to mention in one newspaper column.

I want to thank all the coaches, players, administrators and parents who made this job so fulfilling.

Covering the events was great, but getting to know the people was even better.

As I embark on my new career as sports editor of the Woodford Times (our new publication covering Metamora High School, Eureka High School and Eureka College athletics), I hope I can build the same types of relationships that I cherished over the last three years at the Peoria Times-Observer.

I am looking forward to tackling the challenges of this new position, but I will never forget the people who truly left a special place in my heart.

I will end this column now, before I get even more sentimental and teary-eyed.

So long.

I will miss all of you.