Today is my last day at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. After 13 years I’m moving on to new endeavors.

While I may be gone, there are some people and things that I will always remember from the last decade plus, including:

Les Tenney, the retired Arizona State University professor who, as a young man, was captured in the Philippines, survived the Bataan Death March and forced labor in a Japan coal mine. When he returned to the states he arrived in the rain and there were no bands and no one to greet the ship and he learned his wife had remarried while he was in captivity. He could have been bitter and mean, but he was gracious and kind. And a great lawn bowler as many at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center may remember.

Keith Young, an older dad who became a cop later in life than most. After just over a year on the department a very drunk Linda Tomchee struck him with her car and then kept on driving. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and the Phoenix Police Department retired him instead of finding a place for Young in the department. I will always remember the officers in the courtroom murmuring among themselves as the Tomchee family complained about her guilty verdict. I thought a fight would break out until Sgt. Dave Reginato yelled, “Quiet,” and everyone in the courtroom sat at attention.

Pat Welch is another person who could have become bitter when her son was killed by a drunk driver on the Warner-Elliot Loop while making his last pizza delivery of the night. Welch could have become bitter, but instead she raises money for Tennies From Heaven, which collects tennis shoes for disadvantaged kids. She gives them away in her son’s name.

This community has some amazing people and some great stories that I’ve been privileged to tell, including:

The Mountain Pointe High School math class where normal-looking kids took college math, and then tried to explain to me what they were learning.

Then there was the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee with Max Masel, Doug Cole, John McComish, Laurel Arndt and others who felt strongly that 620 acres of State Trust Land should be preserved so they presented their own bill to the Arizona Legislature.

Over the years I tried my best to keep everyone informed about the issues and events and people that impact their lives, from mortgage fraud to keeping garage doors closed so thieves don’t take things to the local high school grads who died in the war on terrorism.

It’s been a great job, mostly because this is a great community.

Thanks for the opportunity to tell your stories.

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