It takes courage to strike out on one’s own, to throw off the shackles of familiarity and explore uncharted waters.
But sometimes it take courage to stay behind, too.
For while those who leave are out there experiencing new things and having fantastic adventures, someone has to stay behind and keep the home fires burning. Because, after all, things don’t necessarily change for those who choose to stay behind — there’s still plenty of work to be done and more than enough life to be lived.
I’ve been working full time at the Troy Daily News for almost 21 years now. I’ve stuck around this long mainly because I love what I’m doing, but also because it’s where I feel comfortable. This is my second home. I can pretty much set my watch to the way things are going to happen. Fall sports season starts in August. Winter sports season starts at the end of November. Spring sports season begins the end of March.
Time marches on. I could practically set my watch to my professional life, which, as somebody who has never been a big an of change, I can appreciate. It’s warm and it’s welcoming. It’s safe.
Except, of course, when someone leaves the TDN family.
That’s when things get difficult for those of us who have to stick around — not necessarily because their absence leaves us unable to do the job, but rather because the absence of their personality leaves us unable to do the job in quite the same way ever again.
In a very short time, our chief photographer Anthony Weber will be leaving the Troy Daily News to begin a new life in another field. There’s a very good chance if you’ve been out in the public at all in the past 18 years, you’ve seen Anthony taking pictures, whether it be at a sporting event, the Miami County Fair, the Troy Strawberry Festival or one of the other hundreds of events around the county.
There’s a better than average chance he’s taken a picture of you, one of your family members or someone you know. He’s a supremely talented fixture in this community, known far and wide for his ability to use photographs to tell a story, while at the same time bringing life and vibrancy to these pages on a daily basis.
He’s been an institution at this newspaper for the past 18 years — and it’s been my honor to work right alongside him.
Anthony has been a part of some of my favorite memories in this business. When I got the chance to meet three members of the “Brady Bunch” when they made a return visit to Kings Island several years ago, Anthony was there not only taking pictures for the newspaper, but snapping pictures of me interviewing Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen. We covered dozens of Cincinnati Reds Opening Days and Ohio State football games together. We criss-crossed the state together covering all manner of high school sporting events together.
I always knew that any story I wrote would be further enhanced — and far more well-read — if accompanied by a photo taken by Anthony.
And I guess that’s the funny part about my friendship with Anthony Weber. Personally, you probably won’t find two people any more different than the two of us. He’s the straight-laced former military man who always does things in an orderly fashion. I’m the free spirit who tends to fly by the seat of his pants more often than not.
Our professionalism, however, brought us together. We knew that while we likely disagreed on a great many things in our personal lives, our desire to make the paper better for our readers every single day is what brought us together. I’ll miss him.
Of course, Anthony isn’t the first person I’ve worked with at the TDN I’ve had to watch walk out the door. I’ve seen friends, mentors and even my wife (she was my fiance at the time) leave this building to move on with their lives. And since I have every intention of working here until I retire, I know he won’t be the last friend I have to watch leave, either.
As always, I wish them well, because I knew how much courage it takes to leave.
But I also know how much courage it takes to stay.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong