By Rebekah Martin
It’s time for me to say goodbye. By the time this column goes to press, I’ll be following a U-Haul up I-65 to north Alabama where I’ll start over and soon be the editor of the Hartselle Enquirer and Madison Record.
Watching Opelika fade in my rear view mirror will surely be a hard moment, since it has been my home for more than three years. It’ll also be difficult because Opelika has been good to me, and while the opportunity to better myself and accelerate my career was one I couldn’t pass up, it’s bittersweet.
Opelika has been more than just a place to live and work. It’s really where I have come to know what it’s like to be a part of a community that welcomes people and teaches them how to love where you live. It’s where I’ve grown as a person and as a journalist. Covering Opelika stories for Opelika people has taught me everything I know about community news, and I hope I’ve done this beautiful city justice in that way.
I was honored to be a part of last year’s 20 under 40 class where I made some great friends and learned all the ins and outs of how our elected leaders run the city. I also had the great opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of the Opelika Police Department while participating in this year’s Citizen’s Police Academy. I have a new found respect for those in public service after my experiences, both in uniform and out.
Opelika means a lot to me. It’s where you’re Facebook friends with the mayor and where your councilman cuts your keys himself at his hardware store. It’s where strolling down South Railroad Avenue feels like Andy and Barney should be there too. It’s where you say “War Eagle” on Saturdays but “Go Dawgs” every other day. It’s where ice cream has a back story as deep as Spring Villa and where you feel “O Town Pride” in your bones.
Opelika, her citizens and the lessons I’ve learned while living here with forever be a part of me and I think I’m a better person because of this town. So, thank you Sweet Home Opelika and Go Dawgs!