Over the past 18 months, I've come to learn Medfield is a special place.
It's a special place to live, a special place to attend school and for me, it has been a special place to work. I've truly enjoyed my time here, getting to know many of its residents and learning what makes Massachusetts' 43rd town so special and so unique – the community.
After 18 months of writing, researching and talking all things Medfield, I feel as if I’ve become a part of the community and I have all of you to thank for that, which is why the purpose of this column is bittersweet ... I'm leaving Medfield and travelling 12.14 miles down Route 27 to become the Local Editor of Foxborough Patch.
But before I go, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the time I spent in Medfield and thank everyone who helped make Medfield Patch an important part of the community and an overwhelming success.
I remember the beginning like it was yesterday - hard to believe it was November 2010. I was driving around, covering the majority of the 74.72 miles of highway, discovering what Medfield was all about. It started with a trip down Main Street, with Lord's Department Store, tall church steeples, Town Hall and the Public Library immediately catching my attention.
I attended high school in Millis and drove through Medfield plenty of times but never stopped to really take in my neighboring town's surroundings – until I was hired to report on it. I couldn’t believe all the things I overlooked as a teenager.
Immediately after being hired by Patch, I began researching this small New England town and introducing myself to local business owners and town officials.
The response was similar with all my early encounters: "What is Patch?"
To help answer that question, I stood outside of Shaw's on a cold December afternoon handing out reusable tote bags with Patch's logo on it and my business card to let anyone and everyone in town know Patch was coming to town.
And then on Dec. 14, 2010 ... Medfield Patch was live on the web for everyone to see. A truly great accomplishment for me and one of the proudest in my five-year journalistic career.
Since December 2010, Medfield Patch has grown into a reliable news source for the community, packed with town news and information. I'm proud of that but I'm even more grateful to all of you, the readers, for having the curiosity to see what the site was about and more importantly, for coming back! I want to thank you for welcoming me and Medfield Patch into your lives.
I've often said that Patch belongs to the people of Medfield and without your help, we would not have reached and sustained the level of success we have in a short 18 months. You see, the success of this site was not achieved by one person, but rather an entire community and I truly believe that is one of the greatest things about Patch – it's for the people, by the people.
And it was a lot of fun!
This town has a lot of pride in its community and that can be seen through support of its schools and sports programs. I came from a strong sports journalism background and took a liking to the town's sports teams from the beginning. Heck, I even bought myself a Medfield blue windbreaker jacket from Lord's when I had to cover a baseball game and got caught in a cold May rainstorm. I can still picture Westwood baseball coach Brian Whelan giving me a funny look after I interviewed him (wearing my newly purchased jacket) after the game. This town made me a fan and I wore that jacket proudly – even if it was a little biased.
I enjoyed each season as it brought different storylines and player/team accomplishments. But what I enjoyed most was the expectation for nearly every program in every season at Medfield High was to win a state championship. I was fortunate to witness and cover two state titles during my 18 months on the job. The boys' lacrosse team won its fifth state title and most recently, the girls' lacrosse team won its first ever Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 state title. For me personally, I get to remember the last Medfield sports game I covered was a state championship victory. Thank you girls!
Around town, I got to see the type of support the community shows for one another with events like the Angel Run and Walk for Olivia. I learned why the Medfield State Hospital – since closing in 2002 – remains a very important – and volatile – issue between the town and state. I've read your comments, looked into your news tips, accepted your criticism and enjoyed your praise. But the thing that stands out most during 18 months of coverage is this – Medfield cares.
You care what is happening in your community, you care about your town and you care enough to be active in it. Sure, we at Patch built this site, but you came and you read it, interacted with it and made it a success. I hope that you will continue to do so long after I'm gone.
This town has been special to me and for that, I'm truly thankful and will never forget the experiences and memories you each have given me.
With that being said, I’d like to thank my staff for making the past 18 months not only successful, but also memorable and a lot of fun.
Recognizing Medfield Patch's staff:
Note: This is in no particular order and by no means a complete list!
- Theresa Knapp: Medfield Patch's first reporter (other than myself). Theresa loved covering Medfield so much that she moved to town! And now, is serving as the interim local editor of Medfield Patch until my replacement arrives. You've seen her work; you've likely seen her around town. She’s great at what she does and knows Medfield. She's been here from the beginning and has been a big supporter in all things Medfield Patch! Thank you for everything, Theresa. I know you’ll do great in my absence.
- Richard DeSorgher: What in Medfield does Richard not have his fingerprints on? I remember meeting Richard for the first time at the historical society in early 2011. I was pitching the idea of him contributing to Medfield Patch with a weekly column. After kicking around a few ideas, "Uniquely Medfield" stuck for the column's name and it has become a very popular read among Medfield Patch fans. You can count me as one of those fans as I, like many of you, can’t wait to get my eyes on the next column and see what piece of town history Richard shares with us next. Richard, you are a tremendous resource for the town and an invaluable citizen. Thank you for everything.
- Colleen Sullivan: You may have seen Colleen's photography around town before getting to know her work on Medfield Patch. It turns out Colleen is more than a talented photographer but a talented writer and journalist as well! She has covered many events around town behind the camera and on the notepad for Medfield Patch and has told some incredible stories for us. In addition, she at times has been a one-woman hype team for Patch - telling everyone and anyone to read my stories and check out the site. Your work is always a great read, Colleen, thank you for your interest and enthusiasm for Medfield Patch!
A Fond Farewell
Somebody who has been quoted far too much once said, "all good things come to an end." And sure, that may be true to some degree, but the way I see it, my days as your local editor may be over but what I worked hard to build and bring to you over the past 18 months has only just begun. I trust the editors after me will continue to deliver the same quality and quantity of news and information to you and reach new heights in community journalism. I'm proud I was around to lay the foundation and get to know so many of you.
And the rest, as they say – and Richard DeSorgher catalogs – is history.
Medfield is a special place and for me, it was special to be a part of it and I will never forget it. Thank you all for reading!
Your First Local Editor,