This week I had the opportunity to visit Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park.

The park hosted a day camp, where kids – and I -- learned about the original Mennonite settlers’ journey from Russia to the Henderson area.

After the fact, when I was writing an article about the day camp, I decided I needed some more information. I called my faithful source Suzanne Ratzlaff, and got not only the information I needed, but some interesting tidbits about early Henderson.

I often tell people that if I could do college all over again, I’d add a major in history to my English degree.

Journalists – particularly small-town journalists – get to meet and get to know people from all walks of life. On the surface it seems that some of them have nothing in common. Not true. We’re all a piece of the humankind puzzle, and chances are the choices we make will not only affect ourselves, but people we don’t even know about. (Think the game “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”)

We all leave footprints on this earth. I’ve heard some people labeled as “boring.” Again: not true. Talk and – most of all, listen – to anyone, and I’m 99.8 percent sure there’s something really cool about that person. Sometimes it just takes extra digging.

That’s what my job entails the most: digging and finding the special story that we all have. I suppose journalists are historians of sorts. We listen, research and record, telling stories from past and present so that hopefully someday years and decades and centuries from now, someone else will learn about our stories, our history, and know that there is something special in all of us.


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