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For this writer, the last word is gratitude


I’ve always been good at endings, and this is a really big one for me.

Friday, Nov. 10, is my last day with the Las Cruces Bulletin.

I started part-time about eight and one-half years ago and became full-time a year later. Spring 2015 to fall 2023 is about 450 weekly editions of the Bulletin and about 2,000 bylines.

I’ve covered everything from the Las Cruces Fire Department’s 911 bell-ringing ceremony to former Las Cruces Police Chief Patrick Gallagher talking about being one of the first responders at the actual site of 911 attack when he worked for the New York City Police Department.

One of my favorite stories was the one I did about Las Cruces Sen. Bill Soules’ legislation making the smell of roasting green chile the country’s first ever official state aroma. I’ve also talked to Marci Dickerson about her fight against cancer and the incredible work she is doing to help others in that fight.

I’ve written about Toys for Tots, Coats for Kids and Dress the Child and heard many heart-breaking stories, including one Tom Drake recently told me about a boy he met at a Dress the Child shopping event who had never had new clothes before. The two things he wanted were socks – he was very tired of hand-me-downs – and a Christmas present for his mother.

One of my first interviews for the Bulletin, fulfilling a 50-year personal goal, was with former NMSU Aggie quarterback Charley Johnson, who talked about his 15 seasons in the NFL and showed me the gold and diamond ring he wears as part of the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor.

I have enjoyed talking to City Manager Ifo Pili about his time in the NFL, especially how much he likes his former Eagles coach, Andy Reid, who is now the coach of my beloved Kansas City Chiefs.

I wrote a story about a $3 million house in Las Cruces, and I’ve talked to people living in tents at Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.

I have watched a single mother and her small children help build the home they were able to buy because of Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity. I have seen Lorenzo Alba overcome because of the community’s generosity in support of Casa de Peregrinos food program.

I’ve held Mark Medoff’s Tony award and touched a crumbling adobe wall at Fort Selden where Buffalo Soldiers were stationed 150 years ago.

I talked to Delano Lewis about growing up in segregated Kansas. During COVID, I talked to J. Paul Taylor about the Spanish Flu epidemic that devastated the world, ending the year he was born.

I talked to Alan Luzietti about dancing with Bea Arthur on “The Golden Girls,” and David Hill about standing on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

I interviewed Clayton Flowers on his 105th birthday.

I’ve had wonderful conversations with Denise Chavez about growing up in Mesquite Historic District and telling her stories to readers across the world in her best-selling books.

I’ve talked to winners and losers in countless political races and even got to interview a presidential candidate. I have laughed and cried at some incredibly outstanding theatre on just about every stage in Las Cruces.

It has been a great ride, and the single word that describes it best for me is gratitude. Thank you, Las Cruces Bulletin, Richard Coltharp, Elva Österreich and the whole staff. And thank you, Las Cruces, Mesilla and all parts north and south, east and west, for so many great and incredible stories of courage and triumph and heart and magic.

Mike Cook