Made at the Messenger

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend your own funeral?

Maybe it’s vain or a bit morbid, but I have. And I suspect it’s a lot like leaving a job you love.

Erika Pedroza

Erika Pedroza

Today marks my four-year “full-time” anniversary here at the Messenger, although I’ve cranked out stories for this newspaper since the summer after my first year of college in 2007.

Today’s paper also contains my last bylines as a Messenger reporter.

Since accepting a job with a Metroplex school district late last month, I have been inundated by the most kind words, probably far more than I deserve.

With that support – and the experiences I’ve garnered – I leave this job empowered and prepared for what’s ahead.

In my on-and-off seven years here, I’ve written more than 1,400 stories. I’ve learned about the inside operations of city government and school districts.

I saw the city of Bridgeport lose its hospital but gain a community-oriented grocery store and a sheet metal fabrication company.

I witnessed school districts gracefully handle slashes to their budgets while simultaneously serving their students through programs like the community problem solvers’ traffic flow resolution at Bridgeport Middle School, and the butterfly garden at Paradise Elementary – implemented as the result of a “check yes or no” request from a third grader.

I learned what courage is by interviewing cancer survivors. Mothers of sick children taught me what selflessness and true love look like.

I was baptized into every facet of breaking news. From a brush with death after driving into a grass fire, to losing my lunch – or dinner, rather – at the scene of the first fatal accident I covered, I plunged headfirst into these endeavors.

Although I’ve claimed to know this area because it’s where I grew up, it wasn’t until I became a reporter that I truly came to appreciate this community and the people who comprise it.

Yes, there are some characters whose actions leave you scratching your head and absolutely puzzled.

But the gems in this community far outnumber those folks.

These are people who are passionate about bettering their hometowns by volunteering in various capacities – organizing Spirit of Christmas campaigns, benefit soccer tournaments and bake sale fundraisers.

Even in covering those routine city council and school board meetings, I have met some of the most giving people who have the best interest of their constituents in mind.

I leave this job a better reporter, employee and person because of my interaction with all of you.

But the most marked impact has been that of my colleagues.

We cover some pretty traumatic events – we are on the scene of fatal car accidents, we watch as people lose their every belonging in fires, and the constant flow of obituaries are a reminder of how fragile life is and how easy it is for our lives to be turned upside down.

Although counseling services have been made available to us, I have never had to pursue them. Interacting with my co-workers is therapy enough.

Maybe it’s because we share a morbid sense of humor. But their caring nature and a vested interest in not only putting together a quality product but also in the people who do so, will be hard to match.

I’m not sure I’ll ever work with people who make me laugh – or feed me – as much as these do.

I will miss you all.

Erika Pedroza is a reporter for the Messenger.

One Response to “Made at the Messenger”

  1. Skip Nichols says:

    The Messenger — and more importantly Wise County — is losing a valuable member of its community. Readers will miss your unbiased reporting. Your empathy for those in unfortunate situations is an important character trait that more of us should have.
    Your parents and relatives should be very, very proud of you.
    Wise County can watch with pride as you step into a new job.
    We, who know you, will always claim you as ours!


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