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Goodbye, Havre, and thank you

 

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I have put down more roots in Havre than were probably wise, knowing that a small paper would be a boon of professional growth, but only for so long.

I moved nearly 2,000 miles, asking for a challenge, and boy, did I get one.

I have learned a lot about researching, writing, government and mankind over the past 18 months.

Most importantly, I have learned — from the people here who give unconditionally to others in the community — that it's the people who make the town. You are inspiring; I couldn't help but want to be a small part of the spirit of Havre.

Many communities pride themselves on being tight-knit but welcoming, on being giving and caring. However, it's easy to put off doing things for your neighbors just one more day or to rationalize not doing anything because the other person doesn't like you or is a stranger.

People here don't. Havre fully embodies the ideals of helping your fellow citizen and consistently doing the right thing, simply because it's right.

Never have I seen such genuine outpourings of support for fellow community members in times of need.

Some of that has extended to me, even though I am by no stretch a local.

In a profession dependent on people sharing the stories of their lives, I haven't had to ask for much because people give so freely. Thank you, for opening your lives to me. I couldn't have done my job if you hadn't, or have gotten to know myself better in the process.

I have done things I never expected to do — being covered in cow manure at a branding, attending a traditional powwow, jumping into a vat of ice water, falling in love with a farmer, and the list goes on and on. Many of those experiences have forged another little piece of me for the better. Most would not have been possible without someone being patient with me. Thank you.

The unforgettable experiences I have had and the incredible friendships I have formed made my decision to leave for a reporter position with The World newspaper in Coos Bay, Ore., a difficult one that was weighed carefully.

Where I am in my life dictates I go.

I have never been happier than the time I spent in Montana. Not a day went by when I didn't pause and say thank you to the universe for giving me t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o b e h e r e. Professionally, though, there are only so many opportunities to stay. I leave with a new adventure waiting to shape me into a better reporter so that I can return on my own terms.

Havre's imprint on my heart will go with me.

It's not so much the concrete town I'll miss. Rather, it's the owner of the ice cream shop who calls to tell me that a tub of peach (my favorite) is now in the freezer; the rancher who good-naturedly discusses the ABCs of calving; the numerous volunteers who give their hearts to make the community better; and the people who didn't have to, but gave me reason to consider Havre home.

As I pull away Wednesday, it will be impossible not to look in the rearview mirror.

I expect the view will be a little blurry.

(Alice Campbell is a Havre Daily News staff writer. She can be reached for a few more days at [email protected] havredailynews.com.)

 
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