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Thanks for the great experiences

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
I was 25, a recent college graduate and a single woman when I began working as a reporter for the Madison Record in 2001.
I have applied what I learned by earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and language arts at the University of North Alabama, years of active journalism interest in high school and college, and the work ethic my family instilled in me to be successful in my career.
Today, almost six years later, I am 31, married, a homeowner, managing editor of the Madison Record and have worked for the its sister newspaper, the Hartselle Enquirer in Morgan County, as a reporter for almost five years.
So a lot of things have changed for me in the last six years, personally and professionally. But one thing that has not changed is the little voice that persistently nags my heart to do something more--for my community, for children and, admittedly, for my soul.
I’ve tried to quiet the voice by becoming a blood and platelet donor and volunteering my time and skills to various good causes, but the voice persists.
I think the voice will be quieted though as I begin my new career Feb. 5 with a national non-profit community agency, United Cerebral Palsy, where I will apply all of my professional and personal experiences to the Huntsville office’s marketing and special events department.
I know it’s extremely clich/ to say I want to take this job “so I can make a difference in the world,” but that’s exactly my intention. I want to make the community aware of the services offered by UCP and positively affect the lives of my neighbors--especially children--as a result.
And what a journey it’s been to this point in my professional life. I’ve met Gov. and Mrs. Bob Riley, dignitaries from Japan and Russia, and up-and-coming stars along the way, but it’s the everyday people whom I’ve treasured meeting the most as a reporter.
I ate homemade chocolate cake and drank sweet tea with Granny Madge, grandmother of American Idol runner-up Bo Bice, in her kitchen while she sewed a costume for Bo to wear on the nationally televised show.
Granny Madge was just like my grandmothers--exceedingly proud of all of her grandchildren, not just the ones in the spotlight.
I’ve cried and laughed with people young and old who are battling disease. I’ve completed a citizens’ police academy and served as publicity chair for a city’s first Relay For Life event.
I’ve taken thousands of pictures of students doing everything from raising money for natural disaster victims to having a pajama party in celebration of meeting reading goals.
I’ve written stories about long-lost relatives being reunited, homes and lives being lost to fire, and a stuffed cat being kidnapped from a caf/ and held for ransom.
I’ve received flowers, candles, candies, cookies and letters, cards and emails of thanks from many of the readers I’ve served since 2001--and I thank each of you for being so kind.
How fortune I have been to have someone say “thank you” to me almost daily just for doing my job.
I will miss all of these experiences, but it’s time to listen to my heart and see what it has to offer to a very worthy cause.
Please wish me well in this endeavor and know that I will keep the wonderful people I’ve met in both cities, Madison and Hartselle, forever near and dear to my heart.
If I can ever be of service, please contact me at my personal email address, mtlbc@bellsouth.net.
Thank you for allowing me into your homes each week for the last six years. You’ve all been most gracious hosts and I will truly miss our visits.

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