Lauren Blair: Onwards and upwards! Let’s stay in touch, Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

Lauren Blair: Onwards and upwards! Let’s stay in touch, Moffat County

Lauren Blair

— It is with a heart full of gratitude and more than a little sadness that I hang up my hat as health, education and environment reporter for the Craig Daily Press.

My tenure here has been one of the richest and most intense, learning-filled, stressful and rewarding chapters in my life to date, and my time in Craig has indelibly shifted my worldview.

When I arrived here, fresh-faced and eager, the community welcomed me with warmth and sincerity. I know I am not the first reporter to come and to go; nonetheless, my eagerness was met with mutual excitement for all the great stories and possibilities ahead of us.

As I leave my post now, and eventually leave this community for the even smaller, West-Slope town of Paonia, I am sad to hand off the stories I have come to love telling.

The school district has challenged me — at times, a joy to cover and at times, utterly perplexing — with its diverse voices, differences of opinion and complex budget issues. The college has inspired me, as it strives to support this community in ways both big and small. The hospital has impressed me for its drive to set high standards for rural healthcare and the VNA has earned my undying respect, as it doggedly works to identify and serve the needs of every Moffat County resident, regardless of stature, income or ethnicity.

I never have met a more hard-working town. The number of jobs, boards, volunteer commitments and family obligations that so many people here juggle boggles my mind, and inspires me to embrace hard work without complaint (or perhaps just guilts me into it).

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To so many of those that I have gotten to know through this past year and a half: I'm glad for the relationships we've built. I am sorry to no longer have an excuse to call you and bug you on a weekly or monthly basis, but perhaps I'll find reason to do so now and again.

I am excited to see the stories Craig will have to tell in the coming years. On Wednesday night, I managed to drag myself to the first meeting of Yampa Valley Young Professionals despite the mountain of work left in front of me, and I'm so glad I did. There are a lot of young people in Craig who care about this town's future.

One of my own discontents as a 30-something living here has been the lack of opportunities or venues through which to meet and connect with other people my age. I think you can expect to see great things happen from this group as the next generation builds momentum behind its vision for this community's future.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to serve you, for reading your local newspaper and for engaging in the issues that matter to this community. I am grateful to have been part of such a passionate and talented editorial team at the Craig Daily Press, for the mentorship of my editor, and for the integrity and hard work of everyone at the newspaper.

Rest assured my fiancé, Yuri, and I will be back often to visit, share stories and see how things are going. Craig and Moffat County have planted themselves firmly in both our hearts.

To follow Lauren Blair on her next adventures, including the joys and pitfalls of wedding planning, follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.

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