Travis Devlin: COMMENTARY: The people we meet along the way

·3 min read

Jul. 21—Sidney, Montana was a unique place. A small-town of a little over 6,000 people. It's a town where everyone knows everybody, and the closest city the size of Athens is an hour away. I didn't exactly meet a ton of people there in Richland County, but I met a handful of people who I can now call friends that made my life so much easier and my job so much more fun. In Limestone County, where I have been since February, everyone I have met, whether I have been talking to them for a story or off the record, has been so welcoming, friendly and kind.

Each one of those people in Montana were inspirations to me. They helped me as a person and a journalist, and oftentimes they made me feel better in an environment I wasn't always comfortable in. At the time I left that job, I genuinely didn't believe I would meet better people than those four in this profession. Turns out, that list of people seems endless within the Limestone County community.

I was always intrigued with journalism as a profession. It was the best opportunity for me to be close to what I'm passionate about: sports. As a journalist, I'm fully capable of covering anything. I'd like to think I'm well-rounded, not as well-rounded as I should be, but it makes a difference when I or anyone genuinely cares about the specific event or subject they're covering.

If it weren't for those few people in Montana, I probably would have left the state earlier than I did and very likely quit journalism altogether. Both of my editors in my time there did decide to leave the paper. The amount of work that I had basically in a two-person newsroom 23 hours from my home in Michigan was overwhelming to say the least.

I'll be 28 in November. I'm still young, but I'd be lying if I said I don't wonder if this is what I'll do for the rest of my life.

Sure, it's what I want to do — it is all I have ever wanted to do. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism. It's what I care about and what I believe I'm getting better at each and every day. Every other job I have ever had didn't fit me or my skill-set well. That's not to say I couldn't do it, I just didn't want to do it. I want to write.

I have a job that I love. I can come to work every day with a smile on my face and a great attitude knowing that I'm lucky to be able to do this for a living. I get to go to games for free. How cool is that?

For me, most days my job here doesn't feel like work. As the saying goes, when you do what you love, you won't work a day in your life. That's how I feel here in Alabama.

Nothing is guaranteed, but this community, the many people that I have met, the many wonderful messages I have — not just about my work, but more so about my character — mean more to me than I can ever truly describe.

As cool as it is to be known for the work that you do, I'd much rather be known as a decent, funny, genuine human being who cares. Fortunately, I feel like I'm accomplishing both here, and I couldn't be happier.

— Devlin can be reached at travis@athensnews-courier.com.

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