Jason B. Smith's inevitable departure as publisher of The McDuffie Mirror has caused me to have mixed emotions. Even so, I and many others, especially the staff of the newspaper, sincerely wish him much happiness in his new job as vice president of communications for Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc.
He, indeed, is most deserving of this new job.
Those of us on the staff learned the news during a meeting that was called by Mr. Smith last Thursday morning. We all knew it was something urgent, because we don't normally meet in such a scurry fashion.
When he informed all of us that he had been offered and had accepted the new job, you could have heard a pin drop on the floor, as the old saying goes.
The mixed emotions I mentioned earlier are due to the fact that Mr. Smith is one of the best bosses I've ever worked for in my life. As I told him in front of my colleagues, he's not only been a great boss, but a great friend at the same time.
Jason, as our boss has always asked us to refer to him, has had a distinguished newspaper career with many fine Morris Communications publications during the past several years and is an award-winning journalist and columnist. The newspaper, now six years old, has grown by leaps and bounds under the leadership of Jason. The reason: He has poured his heart and soul into producing The Mirror each week for the last five-and-a-half years.
The majority of his ideas have been good ones - many of them exceptional because he chooses to look at the bigger picture, instead of just what he sees in front of him. He also has never been hesitant to ask any member of our staff to share our opinion about a particular issue. He has told us often times that he values our opinions. And having gotten to know Jason since I've worked for him, I know that to be the truth.
He has made our newspaper one of the best weekly newspapers in Georgia, because of his hard work and dedication. I, too, share with him the latter two commitments to journalism and most of all to the readers we serve week after week. Often, I have told Jason that veteran newspapermen like him and me are a dying breed. Now that he has decided to move on to greener pastures, there really will be one less deeply dedicated and committed journalist in Georgia when he actually leaves.
I'm going to miss Jason a lot. I've learned so much from him.
Nevertheless, I sincerely wish him much happiness with his new job.
Jason's departure from our newspaper as editor and publisher will leave a void, there's no doubt.
However, those of us left behind at the newspaper will continue our commitment and dedication to our readers and provide them with nothing less than a fine newspaper every week.
I think that would make Jason feel really proud!