Valuable Ipswich people have star quality
AS we farewell the QT paper on Saturday charged with emotional memories, a lasting legacy will carry us into the future.
During my 36 years at the QT, it has been the Ipswich people who matter most.
It's the dedicated, ever helpful players, coaches, officials and volunteers in the community, and the people I have called workmates, that have made my experience so enjoyable.
There's been sacrifices for sure, including precious time away from family during the thousands of weekend shifts producing a daily newspaper.
However, the response around the sporting fields and at Ipswich community events over more than three decades has been second to none.
So many people play vital roles in building the fabric of Ipswich sport that creates a great city to call home.
Whether at the soccer, hockey, rugby league or basketball, the sentiments are the same.
Highly dedicated Ipswich people are giving up their valuable time to see junior and senior sport flourish.
Whether it's chasing an athletics, swimming, Aussie rules or baseball story, the same commitment applies.
What I continue to enjoy most about Ipswich sport is the diversity.
The city has proud traditions in so many different sporting endeavours. You won't see that covered in metropolitan papers.
So as the QT moves into an expanded digital era, it's fitting to thank everyone who contributes to keeping Ipswich sport on the proverbial map.
The players, coaches and officials I deal with regularly know who they are. You are so valuable to the city.
So are the contributors who provide endless information, columns and photos that help highlight the city's achievements.
Vic Pascoe, Wayne Jones, Michael Nunn, Margret Mantell, Anthony Breeze, Jill Franklin, Murray Rogers, Dave Reid, Ray Leschke, Rob Oberg, Darryl Christensen, Paul Dolan, Denis Smith, Nicole McPhee, Brian Zeidler, Luke Smith and Fred Daniel have been among reliable suppliers of fantastic community content over many years.
Photographers Franca Tigani, Chris Simpson, Darren J McCabe, Gary Reid, Peter Hallett, Megan Low, Claire Power and Rick O'Donnell have offered wonderful images for the QT to share during my stint here.
To anyone I missed, thank you too.
Earlier journalists I'm sure would vouch for other community volunteers who did the same for them.
People like the late Jeff McLean, a former rugby international, were always welcoming at the Coronation Hotel, where many spirited sporting debates were held.
Like would the great Don Bradman have averaged 99.9 had he faced the powerhouse West Indies bowling attack of the 1980s and 1990s?
The city has so many wonderful meeting places to enjoy a beer and share sporting stories.
The sports mecca Racehorse Hotel is where it all started for me in October 1984, seeing Ipswich United footballers celebrating their latest premiership success.
I knew I was going to enjoy my job after experiencing that Ipswich spirit.
The ever-hospitable Brett Kitching, Wayne Patch and the Ipswich Turf Club team have also offered many enjoyable moments at Bundamba and Racing Queensland awards functions.
Another venue I always enjoyed visiting was Bob Dowse Sports Store at North Ipswich where Bunny, Laraine and Wade Qualischefski always made you feel important. You never left the store without another fishing tale to tell or a positive word about Ipswich.
Over more than three decades at the QT, I have outlasted 10 editors and countless general managers, production crew and office staff. But with few exceptions, I can say they all shared a passion for the paper and what it represents.
While many have been lost to the ever-evolving media industry, they deserve a huge pat on the back. They have delivered endless hours of often unpaid work and served the community with pride.
Thanks to each and every one of you.