The time has come.

I will be resigning from my position as your editor and assistant publisher this week. I won’t be leaving the area, but I have accepted a new job in Manhattan at the K-State Alumni Association. 

Three and a half years ago, I walked into The Daily Union preparing for a job interview. At that time, I was given the choice between a job at the daily newspaper or a job at the 1st Infantry Division Post. Not having a military background, I was intrigued by that job, and knowing what I thought I knew about Junction City, I thought it was a place I would never want to work. 

I had no idea that in two short years, I would be promoted the editor of the 1st Infantry Division Post. And then one year later, promoted to the editor and assistant publisher of the Daily Union. 

While I’m sad to leave the newspaper industry, I’m grateful to have been part of this community for the short time I have been. Before I leave, I wanted to address some of things that I’ve learned about Junction City and Fort Riley since I started.

I’ve had many eye-opening conversations with people in this community. 

“What does Manhattan have that Junction City doesn’t?” 

“Manhattan gets everything good.”

“When it’s between Manhattan and Junction City – everyone picks Manhattan.”

While I have been the editor, I have heard so many people ask this of other community members and even those of us who live in Manhattan.

If anyone spends a short time in this community, they will find that Junction City is full of passionate people who are trying to make the entire town and region a better place. 

Vice Mayor Phyllis Fitzgerald picks up trash wherever she finds it. Delivering Change Program Coordinator Jill Nelson lost a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and now is teaching new parents the value of safe sleep habits. Geared Up Dads President Alex Tyson is demonstrating what it means to be an involved father. Parishioners at St. Xavier Catholic Church are stepping up to renovate the church. 

Since I was both the editor of the Fort Riley newspaper and the Junction City one at different times, one of my favorite things to find is service members who are involved in the community and finding something they are passionate about and trying to make a difference wherever they are stationed.

Everywhere you go there is someone in Junction City serving a purpose that they are passionate about.

When I made my decision to work at Fort Riley years ago, I had a lot of thoughts about the kind of town Junction City was. And they were all proved wrong during the six months that I worked in this town.

Junction City has a lot to offer Northeast Kansas. It has small, locally owned stores with personal touches. It has locally owned restaurants that are unique and diverse. 

It was a short six months in this position, but it was a long three and a half years as a journalist. The Daily Union has seen many changes since I started – three owners, four editors and a number of reporters and other staff. 

I always wanted to be an editor, and I’m so grateful that Junction City gave me that opportunity. This community will always hold a special place in my heart.

MARIA CHILDS is the editor and assistant publisher of the Daily Union.

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