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“What you and your staff do is remarkable"

Lisa Sygutek

Apr 17, 2024

I know deep down this paper made a difference and for that I’m so proud.

One of my faithful readers and a woman I admire a lot, Ginger Bradley, sent me a lovely note and article regarding the importance of newspapers in a community.

She gave me the highest compliment, “What you and your staff do is remarkable, and I believe, under appreciated in this age of social media. It can’t be an easy job and I respect and admire your ability to keep this great little paper going”.

I read Ginger’s letter and may have shed a small tear of gratitude for her words. Sometimes I wonder why I keep this paper going. I certainly don’t do it for the wages, perhaps a small part of me keeps doing it in memory of Buddy. He loved this place, and he left me this place as a legacy of a life well-lived. Sometimes, as I plug along, I realize that I do a lot of it for him so that he can look down from heaven and know that all the lost opportunities and wages in his 87 years was worth it. As long as there is a Pass Herald, there will be a memory of Buddy in this community.

This wasn’t my plan for life. When I was younger, I had big dreams. I was going to conquer the corporate world. That didn’t quite work out for me. I had Keiran quickly after graduating and when I held that baby in my arms, I knew I had a new purpose in life. I decided in that moment to put my career aspirations on the back burner and be the best mom I could.

I have made many mistakes in my life, but I will tell you without a doubt, being a good mom was not one of them. I have raised kind, successful, beautiful men who will add value to this world.

This year I will celebrate 25 years of running a news-paper, and I could be awarded a Silver Quill from New Media Canada for those years of service.

When I started, we were typing on Compugraph-ic machines. Lines of typing that we would glue onto 11x17 paper and then take into the light room to process. We would take the negatives down to the Grey-hound station and send the paper to the Taber Times for printing. Rod Peaks was our Pressman back in those days. Ironically, he just called me to tell me that he is retiring this year. He had been printing my papers for almost 40 years.

The next day we would pick up the papers from the Greyhound and deliver them throughout the community.

Today things are a bit different. We create the paper on our Mac computers, pdf the pages, and send electronically to the Lethbridge Herald. It’s still delivered by a driver from Lethbridge, not a bus and then we furiously put in the flyers and send them out to our readers.

I have done every job in this place. As a little girl, I used to hide under the desk and pretend to answer the phone. When I was eight, I became a paper carrier. My dad would put me in the bed of his truck, and I would hop out and deliver door-to-door, often getting a pop or snack from my customers along the way.

When I hit junior high, I graduated to flyer stuffer.

I have been in this industry for almost 50 years, either under the desk or behind it, and I have worked my way up to President of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association. There isn’t much left for me to do in the industry. Perhaps one day I’ll run as a Director of News Media Canada. Who knows what I’ll do when I’m done being a Municipal Councillor.

What I do know is that I love this little paper. I can go into the back of the office and find an issue from 25 years ago and in it see the history of this community in photos and stories. This paper really is the diary of our community.

I’m not sure where life will lead me when Quinn graduates this year and heads to university. My job as a mom has been fulfilled. I will tell you, though, that every Wednesday when the paper arrives, and I can feel that it’s still moist from having just come off the press and I can smell the ink, I know deep down this paper made a difference and for that I’m so proud.

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