Sports, yes; donuts, no

Seven minutes ago, one of my mentors walked out the door, ready to roll on his new journey, and I couldn’t be more proud.

In this business, having mentors may not be a must, per se, but it’s certainly helpful. There are folks I’ve looked up to with regard to crime reporting, page design, and then there’s the person I turned to for math tips and life advice.

That person, folks, is Pat Newell, a man who spent nearly 20 years behind the sports desk. Pat is embarking on a journey back to New Mexico to be with his wife. The two have been apart since Pat’s return to the paper last year – with the exception of a few visits – but are to be permanently reunited once again.

But what can one really say about Pat that most readers don’t know? I learned just this morning that Pat doesn’t like donuts, as he once worked at a shop for a couple of years and left smelling like donuts and he didn’t enjoy it. He does, however, like coffee cake. Unfortunately, as a goodbye gesture, I brought in donuts this morning. Two dozen.

I also am not sure if I’ll ever see Pat again, which just sunk in at this very moment. He’ll be across the country, instead of in the office next to me.

I won’t be able to yell over, “Pat! If someone was born in 1952 how old are they right now?!” or “What’s five percent of 1,885?”

I have a feeling if Pat reads this, he would have answered both of those in his head right away.

At any rate, as a young budding journalist, Pat took me under his wing in the beginning, sending me emails and adding to my post-it notes of Associated Press style writing.

Once I took over the helm as Managing Editor, Pat – with many more years of page design under his belt – gave me countless tips and shortcuts on how to make my pages ‘pop.’ He showed me methods to be more efficient with my design, and for these things I’ll be forever indebted to him.

Pat was my number two – if I needed someone to build a page for me quickly because of a snow storm and I was running late – Pat had my back.

During the Ganesh Ramsaran murder trial, when I spent my entire day at court, my evenings building pages, my nights writing stories, Pat was ready to take my seat in the mornings to build the front pages for me for an entire month.

Not only has Pat taught me more about the profession that I love, he tends to throw in life lessons here and there, usually when you’d least expect it but need it the most. His manner of doing so is so subtle, yet rather inspiring.

Before Pat walked out the door this morning, I heard him tell the man who is taking over his chair, “I just love writing.”

Me too, Pat. Me too.

So, Pat: I truly believe writing is what you were meant to do, and wish you the best of luck in your future adventures in New Mexico.

We’ll take care of your tangerine tree for you, and it’s an honor that you’re leaving it here with us.

As for the Sports Section of The Evening Sun, Jim Testani is now at the sports desk, and he and I will work together to make you proud. Anyone with sports related information can contact Mr. Testani at 337-3078.

Thank you for being you, thank you for your math skills, and thank you for the nearly two decades of local sports coverage.

Have a safe drive, Pat. And if there’s ever a next time, I won’t bring donuts.

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