I have many wonderful memories from more than four decades as a reporter and editor at the Bangor Daily News. What has made the job so rewarding is the incredible people I have had the chance to work with and report about.
Now it’s time to step back, reflect on how fortunate I have been to work as a journalist, thank God for all the blessings I have been given and say a heartfelt thank you to all of you as I retire.
I’m proud to have spent my entire career at the BDN. Bangor is a wonderful place to live and the BDN is a special place to work.
My colleagues in the Sports Department have become like family, especially people like Joe McLaughlin, Larry Mahoney, John Holyoke, Dave Barber, Joni Averill, Mike Dowd, Jim Goodness, Andrew Neff, Ernie Clark, John Nash and Ryan McLaughlin.
I’m grateful that our publisher, Rick Warren, and his family made sure the BDN was, first and foremost, a family-oriented company. They afforded me the opportunity to work alongside my late father, Bill Warner, and my sons, William and Paul.
And there were many others in Sports: the late Bud Leavitt, the late Tom Hennessey, the late Owen Osborne, Don Perryman, John Nash, Jessica Bloch, Deirdre Fleming, Katrina Veeder, Bob Haskell, Tom Weber, the late T.J. Tremble, Bruce Hunter and the late George Cushman. Each and every one of them had a positive impact on my development.
And that doesn’t even count the enthusiastic corps of diligent young clerks, high school and college students who helped lighten the load tremendously.
We all shared a passion for sports, worked effectively together and had a lot of laughs. We were there for each other for both some of the most joyful and heartbreaking times of our lives.
We persevered while tackling difficult stories, handling tight deadlines and fielding a barrage of late-night game report calls, which brought us together in a way that is difficult to describe.
Of course, we shared a newsroom with a multitude of dedicated professionals on other desks and in other departments. The crew includes some of the best writers, editors, copy editors, paginators and top-notch people I have ever known, including Jim Emple, Becky Bowden, Kent Ward, Charlie Campo, Jeanne Luetjen, Mark Woodward, Jeff Strout, Susan Young, Julie Harris, Rick Levasseur, George Danby, Janine Pineo, Linda Kamp, Michele Madden, Travis Gass and Janet Sargent.
Many thanks also to Rick Warren, Todd Benoit and Jennifer Holmes, whose leadership has enabled the BDN to survive and thrive during a tumultuous and sometimes scary several years as the newspaper industry has been turned upside down.
There were dozens of other respected colleagues and friends who played a part in the BDN’s effectiveness — and in whatever success I achieved as a journalist. Please know that I remember you all fondly.
Whenever I represented The NEWS — as we used to call ourselves — whether in town, across the state, throughout New England or around the country, I did so with tremendous pride in myself, the company and the profession.
It has been a privilege to share the journey with so many hardworking people while telling the remarkable stories of countless hundreds of athletes, coaches, officials, anglers, hunters, biologists, conservationists and business people from all over Maine.
I am grateful for the patience and poise of so many cordial people over the years who graciously granted interviews, even when it may have made them uncomfortable or when they had just suffered a crushing defeat or the unexpected loss of a job.
It wasn’t the outcome of the games or competitions, the amazing venues, the incredible harvests or the personal best catches that I’ll remember. It was sharing the joys and frustrations of those pursuits and the lasting friendships and working relationships that we built that I’ll look back on most fondly.
So much has changed since I first visited the BDN newsroom at 491 Main St. as a child back in the 1960s. Even when I started out as a part-time sports clerk in December 1977, we were still using noisy manual typewriters, making hand-written corrections on copy paper and putting ink to newsprint using hot lead type — often with cigarette smoke wafting across the room.
There was no internet, no laptop and no cell phone. It’s astonishing what awesome work we performed while doing it the old-fashioned way.
I leave filled with pride and satisfaction in what I hope was a job well done. And I am inspired by the talent and enthusiasm of the newer generation of BDN journalists and editors, who will continue to set the standard outlined in the company’s original motto from 1890 which, although a tad antiquated, still resonates:
“The NEWS will keep right on doing what it has done, standing up for the right and fighting the wrong, even if the right happens to be the underdog as is so apt to be the case, defending the downtrodden, and advocating with all its might the best interest of Bangor and Eastern Maine. More than all that, it will continue to give all the news of the day every day, without fear or favor.”
However, you likely won’t be rid of me entirely. I hope to serve as an Outdoors contributor, sharing stories of more adventures in Maine. I hope to see you out there!