I’ll never forget the email. Just after losing the school trustee election in 2011, Ted Murphy reached out to me and asked if I’d like to be a Community Comment columnist. “You can write about anything you like, just don’t get us sued” was my only direction.
At first, I struggled writing my columns. I had to have 550 words done a couple days before the paper came out. I spent a week figuring out what to write, a week writing it and getting feedback and it was in the paper the following week. I’d see it in the paper, take a couple days off, and then start all over.
I never knew how Ted Murphy, our editor and neighbour on this page, could crank out two columns per week. Not only two columns, but two that were topical, intelligent and thought-provoking. There were weeks I struggled coming up with a topic. For Ted? No problem.
This is my 137th column. I don’t know how many Ted has penned, I can’t even imagine. I have shared this page with him for a long time, but that ends with this column.
No, I didn’t get fired (amazingly). No, I’m not quitting (sorry)! In three weeks, I’ll be back.
Today is the last time I share this page with Ted, because today is his last published Optimist, tomorrow is his last day with the paper. After 30 years, Ted is making a change.
This paper has been a big part of the community for a long time. It’s made it through recessions, it’s survived digital media transformation and it’s making it through a pandemic. It’s as much a part of South Delta as the ferry terminal and the tunnel (even though we want something better than the tunnel).
The tone and feeling of the paper that we read today is because Ted put his stamp on it twice a week, until the recent move to once a week. We rely on it to get our local news, find out what’s happening at city hall, read about community events, our kids’ sports results and, of course, to get our flyers to see what’s on sale at our local merchants.
I’d run into Ted occasionally, at a municipal election event or public hearing, and we’d have a nice chat. We didn’t connect often, perhaps recognition that I got my column in on time more than anything else. But occasionally I’d get a note that he enjoyed my column. Coming from him, that was a very big compliment.
Ted, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this page with you. It has been an honour. Best of luck, whatever the future holds for you.
Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He teaches marketing at Douglas College, coaches hockey goalies and is past president of Deltassist.