Coming to Vernon changed my life.
A lot of firsts happened for me here, not all good, but all necessary.
I came to B.C. for the first time and I also had my first car accident right here on Old Kamloops Road.
I met my uncle Ron and auntie Joanne Swart for the first time, and they went above and beyond with helping me find a new car and supporting me through the long process of getting it registered and insured — Quite the task, might I add.
Of course, when the accident happened, I was driving to a work function. Sitting in my seat, I knew Jennifer Smith would see me on her way over from work. If she hadn’t stopped, I’m not sure how I could have handled it. She even picked me up from the hospital. For the 100th time, thank you.
I lived with my uncle Rudy and aunt Geri Swart for a month, another first. They were very hospitable.
My uncle Rob Swart and aunt Stacy Harris let me live with them for awhile, too. My last week spent in the Okanagan was in a motor-home parked on their land.
The Swart clan had my back. It was my first time jumping beds and going with the flow — I’m a pro at living out of a suitcase now.
Dizzy, one of my furry best friends, had to be put down while I was here and it was incredibly hard being away from my mom Sharmain Swart and dad Jeremy Druer. I only got through it because of their help through FaceTime. They’re always there for me and I’m so grateful.
The girls in the office were there with such incredible support. I’m not used to random acts of kindness, so when Katherine Mortimer gave me words of comfort and left a small but meaningful gift on my desk, my chest clenched with overwhelming emotion.
Lisa VanderVelde helped me with my photography skills and even let me borrow her camera with her lens from the ‘60s (kidding), I enjoyed it immensely, thank you.
Katherine and Lisa also got me into a dress, which is quite a feat. The heat is crazy here though, so thank you.
For some reason, and I don’t know why, whenever Kevin Mitchell spoke or gave me a tip, I clung to it with all my might. Maybe it’s his experience, but whatever it was, his coaching will stay with me forever. Thank you.
I was so nervous to start at The Morning Star and the only thing that gave me some peace-of-mind was knowing Parker Crook, newly graduated SAIT student, would be around. Huge shout out to him for giving me opinions on picture submissions for my second year at SAIT, thank you.
Roger Knox is one of the hardest workers I’ve met. Sometimes, I wonder if he even sleeps. It was an honour to be given the task to write about him for the anniversary issue. When it was given to me, all I could think was, “Shouldn’t a senior reporter be giving this guy his dues?” But it was just me under-estimating myself, and I’m so glad to have that story under my belt, thank you.
Last but not least, Richard Rolke. Thank you for making sure I’m always doing OK and not over-loading me with work like you sometimes joke about doing. Thank you for giving me assignments that I truly enjoyed.
Just, thank you.