Two years ago, we gathered in The Depot to fete the first issue of The McDuffie Mirror. There were speeches, finger foods, some handshakes and few celebratory drinks.
Last year, we splashed our way through a cookout in The Mirror parking lot.
For Year Two, it is back to The Depot to celebrate the newspaper built for McDuffie County, by McDuffie County.
And while Thursday's celebration will be all about our community's newspaper, I want to celebrate something else: the people who spent their time in the trenches to get The Mirror off the ground.
Some have moved on, like initial publisher Joyce Beverly, original office manager Becky Irwin, reporters Elwood Hamilton and Jerrie Macintire and ad reps Carol Ligon, Brenda Silas and Carla Direnzo.
Others are still hanging around.
Kristopher Wells lays claim to the "most-tenured" Mirror employee.
Gene Walker ‚" who has faithfully sent more than 104 columns ‚" put his faith in The Mirror from day one. And he isn't paid a dime for it ‚" he does it because he wants to.
Angela Blair came on board just a few months after the debut issue and has been a rock of support for the newspaper.
Janet Wells couldn't be a better fit ‚" and I think she's happier at The Mirror than anywhere she's worked in the past.
Cindy Dent and Lynn Davidson have been around only a few months, but are already vital parts of this newspaper.
Jeremy Timmerman and Erica Green are using The Mirror to cut their teeth in the newspaper world.
Also, Lisa Kitchens and Mike Wall at WTHO, have provided invaluable support.
(And let's not forget Jack Smallwood and Michele Lewis who are on brief hiatuses right now. Life, you know, sometimes gets in the way of your hobbies.)
But the most important cog in The Mirror machine is you. It's the readers who pick up the paper each week, the advertisers who put their faith in the paper and the folks who send the tidbits and offer the opinions that help us build one of the best community newspapers in the state.
Your support has helped instill a sense of pride in everyone involved with this newspaper.
For William S. Morris III, the Chairman and CEO of Morris Communications ‚" our parent company, the open arms in McDuffie County have been humbling.
"It is a great privilege to serve the people of McDuffie County through The McDuffie Mirror," he said. "We are happy for the wonderful acceptance which has been given to us by all of you, and we look forward to working together for many years to come."
As for me, I still get a thrill when a child recognizes me as the guy who "was taking pictures at my school." I still smile when I think about my buddy Jarvis at Thomson Elementary, who always makes a point to tell me how he's doing in the classroom. And, most of all, I still love this community and the newspaper it has given me the opportunity to shepherd.
When will we stop celebrating our anniversary?
After all, the party isn't for us. It's for each of you who have helped shape The Mirror.
Thanks to all of you. We hope you are as proud as we are of what we've all created.