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Opinion: Harris fellowship humbling

On Tuesday, my colleagues Tyler Takeda, Wendy Alexander and I were invited to a Zoom meeting of the Madera Rotary Club.

The Madera Rotary Club meets each Tuesday at noon. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they usually met for lunch at local restaurants.

We were scheduled to be Tuesday’s program. Tyler asked me to go first, since mine is the longest tenure. I gave a brief overview of my 26 years with The Madera Tribune. After I finished Wendy spoke second. She came to us while still attending California State University Fresno, majoring in mass communications. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she came to work for us as a photographer. In the years since, she has been our lead photographer and photo editor.

When it came Tyler’s turn, he started with a joke that has amused me for many years.

When I started at the Tribune, the late Terry Earls was the business manger and head bookkeeper. She and I were also classmates, having graduated from Madera High School with the class of 1973. We were both a bit flabbergasted when we discovered that 1973 was the year Tyler was born. This meant that we were both literally old enough to be his mother.

He then spoke of his job as first sports reporter/photographer until he became sports editor.

With the passing of our owner and publisher Chuck Doud in January, he has done his best to fill some very big shoes. He has written many non-sports stories and, most recently, put out our annual Pride edition.

Tyler began at the Tribune in about 1998 and worked for us about five years. A disagreement with a publisher put a five-year gap in his service.

When I heard he was coming back to us after this hiatus, I went to Chuck to ask him if the rumor was true.

Chuck said he had wanted to rehire Tyler for years and since he now owned the newspaper, he invited him to rejoin the staff.

This has led to a new joke around the office.

“Welcome to the Hotel California, you can check out anytime, but you can never leave,” according to the song by the Eagles.

The three of us informed the Rotary members how important the work is we do at the Tribune. Youth sports and community events are covered to the best of our ability.

Several of the members reported how proud their kids are when they get their name and photo in The Madera Tribune. As I intimated in this space last week that we are great scrapbook fodder, it is important to us to bring news of the good things happening in Madera to the community at large.

I have always believed it is our job to enlighten the residents of this town about all the great things that are going on in Madera.

When I came to the editorial department at the newspaper, I came to the conclusion that as a life-long resident of Madera, if I didn’t step-up and report on all the great things going on in Madera, who would?

In the intervening years, believe me, I have eaten plenty of smoke from fires, watched evidence collection on illegal pot grows and reported on my share of traffic accidents and court cases.

Writing feature stories on the positive aspects of everyday life in Madera is still my favorite. Any time someone in-house calls me a reporter, I always reiterate they are not allowed to speak to me in that manner. Chuck understood that line and it never failed to bring a smile to his face.

Following our talk, the Madera Rotary Club presented each of us with its Paul Harris Fellowships. This is one of the highest accolades the Rotary Club can bestow on a member of its community.

I am both pleased and humbled by this action. Saying thank you to the Madera Rotary Club is in no way enough to convey my gratitude, but it is what I have.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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