This is the hardest thing I have had to write in my almost 10-year tenure at Star Local Media. This will be my final week with the company. I have chosen to pursue another career path, which will allow me to fulfill one of my life goals – helping people in need.

I began my Star Local Media career as a photographer for the Plano Star Courier and Allen American but had no idea what the next nine-plus years would bring. After being a photographer for a year, a position opened up to cover The Mesquite News and Rowlett Lakeshore Times. The office was closer to home, so I jumped at the chance, but there was a caveat – I would not just be a photographer, but would be required to write.

Long story short, I eventually made the transition from photographer/writer to a full-fledged journalist who just happened to take a photo here and there. I share my journey with you to inspire you to never stop believing in yourself and your abilities. When you push yourself, you might just be amazed what you can do.

As I look back on the time I have spent covering various cities, I have seen many highs and far too many lows. The one thing I can say without a doubt is most people in the Metroplex are passionate, resilient people who care about their neighbors. I have seen this over the years when no matter what tragic event struck the area, we as North Texans persevered, banded together and became closer with our neighbors.

I want to personally thank each of you who have ever read a story, viewed a photo or taken the time to give me feedback on what I’ve written, both good and bad. I value each of you and respect you all equally. Each of you have contributed to making my time at Star Local Media successful.

To all the city staffs and school district officials, thank you for providing me quick and accurate information. I could not have done my job without your support. To the various owners, publishers, editors and coworkers I have worked with: Thanks for everything.

The one thing I would like to leave everyone with is be involved. Far too many people complain on social media but fail to act. If you see something wrong, be part of the solution; don’t just stoke the flames of those who seek to pile on the situation. One of the best ways to be involved is to vote in local elections. If you aren’t voting, then your voice isn’t being heard and you only have yourself to blame.

Wishing you all the best in life, love and prosperity.

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